£37m investment to boost UK productivity, wages and living standards

Posted on 21 Aug 2020 by Jonny Williamson

The government has announced the UK’s largest economic and social research investment, comprising a new £32m UK Productivity Institute and a £5m Programme on Innovation and Diffusion.

As part of the government’s drive to build back better, the new Productivity Institute based at the University of Manchester will conduct research how to increase productivity, boost wages and support the economic recovery across the UK.

From September, more than 40 researchers from leading UK institutions will work directly with policy makers and businesses to examine the UK’s productivity levels and the issues that impact productivity, such as working from home, workers’ well-being and a lack of diversity in the workplace to identify key policies that could be implemented to unlock growth and deliver jobs.

Areas of research could involve understanding the supply and demand for labour and skills across regions and sectors, looking at how companies can implement new technologies and efficient processes to increase competition, improve working conditions, and how to accelerate the transition to a low carbon economy.

It comes alongside a new £5m research programme at the London School of Economics (LSE) which will identify ways that the UK’s most innovative products and services can be distributed more evenly across each sector of the economy, particularly those that have been slower to adopt modern practices, to increase productivity.

The Productivity Institute will be led by esteemed economist Professor Bart van Ark of the Alliance Manchester Business School, who commented:  “For many years, the UK has grappled with how to create better jobs and boost productivity, thereby increasing people’s prosperity around the country.

“The Covid-19 recession makes it time for a fresh look at these challenges. If we are to reboot the economy, we need jobs that create high value, use economic and natural resources efficiently, and drive sustained growth through technological change and innovation. Productive jobs will pay more and improve people’s well-being.

Working closely with businesses, policymakers and other stakeholders across the nation and sharing insights with other countries, we aim through our research and engagement to develop practices and policies to encourage more productive and inclusive growth across the UK.”

*Header image courtesy of Depositphotos