Better jobs

The UK economy has been good at creating many new jobs over the last seven years. It has been successful at taking unemployment down substantially. One of the main aims now should be to promote higher skilled and better paid jobs. This is the essence of  how to tackle the so called productivity problem.

It is  normally easier to get from a job to a better paid job, than to get from unemployment into work. It is possible for many to work with their employer. Good companies have schemes to foster training and to help employees achieve qualifications. This usually leads in turn to promotion within the firm.

There are many skilled areas where the UK is recruiting where we could do with more skilled young people from our own Colleges. Various companies and industries complain of a shortage of good people with the right skills. Often they turn to inviting in people from overseas to fill the gaps. The UK economy has been great at generating jobs for new migrants as well as for people already settled here.

Raising employee productivity can take place in several ways. The company may just get better at selling service or product, and raise the amount supplied per worker through good sales combined with processes that allow the existing workforce to service some of the growth. The value of the company’s output may rise for other reasons. When, for example, the oil price goes up the employees of the oil producers become more productive because the  value they each produce rises. A company may introduce better product or service which commands a higher prices which also boosts productivity.  A company may invest more capital in computing, automation or more modern process which can allow the same workforce to produce and sell more.

The UK has a great opportunity to replace more imports with domestic production given the improvement in our competitiveness in the last couple of years.



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  1. Anonymous
    Posted November 20, 2017 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    The march of the robots is going to make ‘good jobs’ ever more difficult to find. We can’t all be roboteers.

    So why are we still importing 600,000 people a year ??? Especially soon to be redundant Uber drivers ?

    We could be creating ‘good jobs’ right now in our border controls but the government just won’t do it.

    What part of the referendum message are they not getting ?

    • Anonymous
      Posted November 20, 2017 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      What part of the “we don’t want open borders” message is Frau Merkel not getting ?

      The EU is causing boiling resentment and political instability yet Remainers are allowed to have it that everything is going swimmingly.

      • Chris
        Posted November 20, 2017 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

        Anonymous, it is worth reading the splendid address that Viktor Orban has given to the EU about their mass immigration/apparent transformation of society agenda and compulsory taking in of asylum seekers/economic migrants.

    • Bob
      Posted November 20, 2017 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      “We could be creating ‘good jobs’ right now in our border controls but the government just won’t do it.”

      If you remember, prior to the referendum they were in complete denial that the decision would be to “leave”.

      They’re prevaricating in the hope of a Brexit fudge, otherwise we would be seeing significant investment for a post Brexit infrastructure.

      • Hope
        Posted November 20, 2017 at 11:56 am | Permalink

        Remainers are defying the public vote to leave the EU. Davis is not offering a transition he is offering an extension with all four pillars in tact. Remainers want this to give extra time to change our minds!

        Walk away now as voted by the public.

    • jack Snell
      Posted November 20, 2017 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      Anonymous– robots are not going to get up in the morning to pick fresh fruit and veg, nor are they going to go out on the fishing boats to fish. Neither can I see them cleaning bed pans in the NHS or laying bricks for new buildings–No.. all of this kind of challenging work awaits our own when the foreigners have finally departed–which by my reckoning won’t be too far off.

      • a-tracy
        Posted November 20, 2017 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

        I’d suggest a complete change of tack at High School from age 11 Jack. Children in the lowest sets should be taught a wider range of life skills to help them to get any of the jobs you write about, they used to do this at my school, if they don’t study harder academically these are the jobs available to them and you can have a very rewarding life out of them if you get the right mind set early enough as many people in my family have, most never being out of work for long but some having to move industries say from farming to cleaning hospitals, or warehouse work to labouring for a brickie then finally being able to do their own landscape gardening business. They should be passing first aid certificates, getting basic cookery (I don’t mean the making a pizza, nachos and a stir fry with a jar of prepared mix my children were taught), how to clean safely not mixing the chemicals, which cleaning products are right for each job, how many of these cleaning products are made up of cheap basic materials like vinegar and bicarb – the sort of things my Nan taught me because people just don’t seem to have the basics passed on to them. The art of not being idle, being active and fit, how household bills are calculated, how to shop well and use good offers, how their wages will accure, how PAYE works, how pensions work. How to look after children from babies to seven etc.

        One of the problems we have is that girls who are struggling with academia learn early on that it’s better to have a family young (with no bloke to provide) than take a job in shop work or a cafe, they aren’t taught proper respect for these positions in this Country, instead they are taught to be entitled to a free home, and enough to cover the bills, then some cash in hand e-bay stuff a little wheeling and dealing here and there to top up. If the Dad gets named on the birth certificate he’s got years of CSI and little connection with the child/ren so it’s not in his interest to work too hard or most of the net gets confiscated and a family probably wasn’t something he agreed to, having been told she was sorting the birth control.

      • rose
        Posted November 20, 2017 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

        Record numbers of foreigners still pouring in.

        • Gary C
          Posted November 20, 2017 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

          Yes and yet remainers still say farmers are struggling to find fruit pickers etc, if there are crops rotting away because they are not being harvested it’s not due to a labour shortage thats for sure.

        • Prigger
          Posted November 20, 2017 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

          Yes but where are they? Seriously.

        • Rien Huizer
          Posted November 20, 2017 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

          What does that mean?

          • rose
            Posted November 22, 2017 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

            Difficult to say. It could be they think they will get a better paid job and/or benefits here than where they have come from. They may not know about the severe housing shortage or they may think they will be housed by the council at public expense anyway. They will probably appreciate free schools however crowded, and the same for the NHS.

      • Nigel
        Posted November 20, 2017 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

        Try googling “robotic brick laying machine”. Some nice videos. They’re a coming …

      • margaret
        Posted November 20, 2017 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

        When I started Nursing In 1968 auxillaries and students had to clean bed pans and put them in the sterilizer. For the last 30 years this has not happened.Disposable devices which are mulched and flushed are used for human waste. All of us started at base knowledge and passed clinical exams up to a very high standard via the state and the level of knowledge was far superior to training today . Then many years of practice ongoing theory , conferences and degrees kept us to a high clinical standard, BUT none of us have ever refused to treat the patient as a whole and that includes bed pans.

      • David Price
        Posted November 20, 2017 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

        Robots already pick strawberries with other fruit and veg to quickly follow. Also. We can change how we grow food to make it easier to manage and harvest, to grow food locally to avoid transportation issues and even modify their growing environment for year round produce.

        There are projects to explore a wider range of urban farming, including vertical and fish farming , which may offer a radically different approach and much wider involvement in food production.

        50 years ago the star trek communicator was the sole province of science fiction yet less than 10 years later it was a reality with the firsat call in New York. 10 years after that the service became public in the UK.

        New fabrication technologies mean house building will likely change radically over the next ten years – a house was built in 24 hours in Russia this year using 3D printing technology.

        You can either embrace and exploit the opportunities of technologies or let others take the opportunities away from you, though you will probably still have to wipe your own backside.

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted November 20, 2017 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

        Over a million German citizens live in the USA. Germany does not have freedom of movement with the USA. Now, explain to me why “the foreigners” are going to leave UK ?

        • Prigger
          Posted November 20, 2017 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

          To join their brethren in the USA

      • Anonymous
        Posted November 20, 2017 at 5:04 pm | Permalink


        I have recent experience of care AND fishing and can assure you British people are up to both (I live in a harbour town.)

      • Mark B
        Posted November 20, 2017 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

        Actually you be very surprised as to what the Japanese are doing with regrds to hospitals. I have worked on a project where a major NHS Hospital is considering using robots to do the work of porters and other support staff .

      • Jagman84
        Posted November 20, 2017 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

        Au contraire! Such ‘robots’ are in the process of being developed for exactly the activity you mention, fresh fruit picking. I too, have seen the brick-laying machine video and it is impressive. Both are to aid productivity, not totally replace humans. A combine harvester would have been incredulous to 18th Century farmers but technology moves things on.

      • a-tracy
        Posted November 21, 2017 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

        Jack – Figures released by the Office of National Statistics 15.11.17. show that in the third quarter of this year there were 2.38 million EU nationals working in Britain – a rise of 112,000 on the same period a year earlier.

        As read in The Spectator “figures from NHS Digital. At the end of June 2017, there were 3,181 extra EU staff working in the NHS than at the end of June 2016. There were an extra 441 EU doctors, 27 more midwives and an extra 136 ambulance staff.”

        They go on “The net number of EU nurses did fall by 289 (a loss of 1.3 per cent)” BUT….” there is another reason for this – . More stringent language tests introduced in January 2016 for overseas nurses wanting to work in Britain had a huge effect on nurses being registered from July 2016 onwards (the registration process can take up to six months to complete). The test was relaxed on 1 November this year.”

      • Lifelogic
        Posted November 21, 2017 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

        Robots will do all of those things fairly soon and already do some of them.

      • libertarian
        Posted November 22, 2017 at 9:34 am | Permalink

        Jack Snell

        Fruit picking and packing now has extensive automated systems .

        I’m a bit fed up keep telling people on here about the future of employment ( its what I do for a living)

        The reason that its hard to get British workers for the SEASONAL picking packing jobs is due entirely to our benefits system.

        We are creating more and more high value and people orientated jobs and fewer and fewer minimum wage jobs. There are 751,000 unfilled full time jobs in the UK today. Still politicians, the media and sadly parents are pushing kids into university, this is a) a waste of money for kids, b) damaging our economy c) brainwashing generation Z with snowflake SJW nonsense.

        Still not enough young people are going into apprenticeships . Automation and robotics will not kill off employment ( exactly the same debate happened in 60/70’s at the birth of computing) It will create new jobs in as yet unknown fields. 61% of students currently studying will end up working in a job that hasn’t yet been invented. Since the 1980’s we’ve invented new areas of work that now employ more than 4 million in the UK

        Growth industries currently are

        High end manufacturing and engineering

        Digital and Tech

        Health & Care

        Professional Services

        Creative industries

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 20, 2017 at 10:20 am | Permalink

      It will be a while before UBER driver are automated. Perhaps rebadged due to the absurd attack on UBER by the courts, Transport for London and the Mayor of London. I shall never use an over priced black cab again in protest.

      • stred
        Posted November 20, 2017 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

        We tried to use an UBER cab for the first time at the weekend when a colleague ordered one to come to a road 50m long. After 15 minutes it had not arrived and we tried to hail ablack cab unsuccessfully. Then the UBER driver arrived and said we would have to pay the fare again, as he had been waiting on the road and it had expired. So we agreed and got in. He then held up all traffic while he tried to get the system to accept a new fare. After another five minutes we left to take the tube. I think they lie about waiting if they are held up, as 4 of us were looking for him in a road 50m long.

      • Know-Dice
        Posted November 20, 2017 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

        Funny you should say that… 🙂

        Uber and Volvo strike deal for 24,000 self-drive cars

      • Lifelogic
        Posted November 20, 2017 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

        Barnier: No trade deal if UK doesn’t stick to ‘European model’.

        Michel Barnier has given a speech saying that, if the UK does not choose to ‘stay close to the European model’ after Brexit, the EU’s national parliaments may not ratify a trade deal.

        The last thing the UK should stick to is the sclerotic, anti-democratic, climate alarmist, top down, European model – it is a disaster. Nor should they stick to it.

        • a-tracy
          Posted November 21, 2017 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

          So does the EU have to stick to a UK model if they want to export to us? We can use this same stick to change our model on some of their imports if we want less of them in the future to protect and promote some of our UK business leaders can’t we. Isn’t that the point of what they are saying.

  2. Mark B
    Posted November 20, 2017 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    For businesses it is all about profit. People no longer expect loyalty from a company and vice versa. So why would any company want to take on and train people to a high standard only for a competitor to offer just a little more money knowing that they can having never invested a penny in that person.

    For lower skilled jobs automation and offshoring is what is being used. This is undermining the old government scheme of a human ponzi. It is getting far less back. The numbers of people in the UK have increased but tax revenues have not yet, the costs of these new comers is an additional expense. We are in fact subsidising big business at the expense of the State / taxpayer. This cannot go on.

    • a-tracy
      Posted November 20, 2017 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      I disagree, Mark, how many businesses have you owned and run? For many SME’s they don’t make any or a very small profit for the first ten years of their enterprise and take on considerable loans and risks, personal stress and long hours to get the enterprise on its legs, they hire as they need help to take over some of the tasks they used to perform and train people to do their roles.
      If you give loyalty you receive loyalty from the majority of your employees especially your long-term employees and long may this important aspect continue.

      • Hope
        Posted November 20, 2017 at 11:59 am | Permalink

        You both make valid points, but the taxpayer is subsidising big business through tax credits, housing, health and much more. Some new small businesses do not contribute a lot like car wash scam.

      • Mark B
        Posted November 20, 2017 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

        I own and run one company. Have done for nearly 18 years and have shown a profit in all those years except one during the Great Recession / Depression.

        Last year I invested +£30k in new equipment, software and training. I also mentor and train other people.

        Whatever you, anyone else, including our kind host may say or think of me, rest assured of one thing. Unlike some in both private and public life, like it or not, I practice what I preach !

        I agree with much what you say but, I have witnessed so many people who have given many good years to a business only to be thrown on the scrap heap when better alternatives become available.

        Sorry, but that is how it really is.

        • a-tracy
          Posted November 21, 2017 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

          Mark – Do you mind me asking what business sector you’re in?
          In 18 years have you managed to keep every member of staff you’ve taken on employed, other than those that choose themselves to leave?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 20, 2017 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      Training people up and then have other companies pinch them is indeed a problem. People should really get cheap loans for training and then offset this against income later.

      Stop the loans for Media and Woman’s Studies at Bognor University and get some more builders, engineers and the likes trains.

      • bigneil
        Posted November 20, 2017 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

        ” Training people up and then have other companies pinch them is indeed a problem. ” – -bit like the NHS.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted November 20, 2017 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

          Indeed, only about 50% of doctors finishing their training in the UK (at a cost of perhaps £200K each, join the NHS as they have better options. So each one cost the state £400K. Furthermore (particularly the female ones) often take career breaks or only work part time.

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted November 20, 2017 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

        ‘Stop the loans for Media and Woman’s Studies at Bognor University and get some more builders, engineers and the likes trains’

        – Well said. And get the old polytechnics to focus more on 1 year courses directly relevant to jobs like software coding, house building, digital marketing and so on.

        Also, let’s just give all our children the highest level of Maths and English possible and reduce the % going on to study for A’Level (and then university), saving a lot of money on public education (with the money saved being put back into offering all our children the best Maths and English possible).

      • Dame Rita Webb
        Posted November 20, 2017 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

        LL the problem of developing a skilled workforce comes a lot earlier before the kids head off to a “new” university, in effect starts in secondary school itself. Much has been written about the problems of functionally illiteracy and the inability of more than a fifth of school leavers to obtain a pass at GCSE English. However the problem is just as bad in maths. As you are a northerner yourself I presume you sat the Joint Matriculation Board “O” level maths paper sometime in the 60s. There is a copy of the 1968 available on Google for download. You should compare it to last years GCSE paper (which can also be downloaded too) FFS I could coach my primary school kids to do it now and obtain a good pass before they go anywhere near a secondary school. Why foreigners send their kids here for a “quality” education and pay thousands for it is a mystery to me.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted November 21, 2017 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

          Indeed I did JMB math O level at 15, then Additional O level Maths at 16, A level at 17, then Further Maths at 18 Physics and Physics Special, Chem, the Cambridge STEP exams and General Studies. All down hill since then academically!

          It is indeed instructive to compare Maths and Physics papers from then and now and see the rather large difference in standards. The questions now are rather too simple but the marking of them can be rather over fussy. This can mean the wrong people actually get the best marks. The very bright but lazy (or a bit careless) sometimes missing out as they have not made all the points the examiners wanted or gone laboriously and clearly through every step.

          Physic and Ordinary Maths A levels really do look rather trivial now.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted November 21, 2017 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

          No climate alarmist propaganda in the exam papers then either I note.

        • libertarian
          Posted November 22, 2017 at 9:44 am | Permalink

          Dame Rita

          You are quite right, I also found this which is appalling in the 21st Century 51% of UK Schools DO NOT offer a Computer Science GCSE course , no wonder the US and Japan laugh at us.

          • a-tracy
            Posted November 24, 2017 at 10:16 am | Permalink

            libertarian you’ll be pleased Hammond said this
            “The number of computer science teachers is to be trebled, the Chancellor announced as he set out plans to create a National Centre for Computing.

            Philip Hammond pledged £84 million to train up another 8,000 GCSE teachers for computer science, a relatively new subject that only became part of the national curriculum three years ago. ”

            We may be behind but at least he’s making a start.

    • oldtimer
      Posted November 20, 2017 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      It does appear that the CBI is influential in persuading the government it needs an extended (neverending?) transition period. This, I assume, is the reason for the reported disgreements about how much the UK is being asked to cough up by the EU. Rather than this debate being conducted behind closed doors, should not we, the long suffering taxpayers, be advised of the list of demands being made by the EU, the governments response to them and how much, if at all, it is willing to offer to settle in its opinion of
      the UK’s obligations to the rest of the EU.

    • Anonymous
      Posted November 20, 2017 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      We are especially subsidising those businesses that exhort us to stay in the EU, contiue with mass immigration and then go on to avert taxes to mitigate the social upheavels by means of their off shore accounts.

      • NickC
        Posted November 20, 2017 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

        Anon, All very true.

        What about an IR35 for the big corporates? If they operate in this country, make their profits in this country, but remit the profits to their head office in Luxembourg, then (Corporation) tax them as though they were based in the UK.

        • libertarian
          Posted November 22, 2017 at 9:48 am | Permalink


          What has IR35 got to do with large corporates? IR35 is about whether you are an employee or external provider.

          If they make profit in this country they have to pay CT tax in this country. They do not remit their profit overseas. I love reading all the “solutions’ to these problems from people who have no idea how the business tax system works . I am happy to explain to you how it actually works and why you need to be very careful about trying to stop transfer pricing ( which is actually the issue) as this could kill a lot of legitimate business

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted November 20, 2017 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

        Subsidising? How?

        • Anonymous
          Posted November 21, 2017 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

          Rien Huizer: If a worker is receiving state top-ups to make his wage a living wage then his employer is being subsidised.

    • Mark B
      Posted November 20, 2017 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, totally off-topic, so if our kind host deletes or delays no problem but, today is the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Cambrai. Why do I mention this ? Because is was the first battle that showed the potential of the Tank which would eventuslly break the stalemate of trench warfare and lead to the end of mass slaughter on the Western Front. A British invention (yes I know Leonardo did some sketches) that changes warfare for the next 100 years.

    • libertarian
      Posted November 22, 2017 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      Mark B

      I’m afraid you are entirely wrong.

      The jobs boom is being driven by SME’s , they do and are quite willing to hire people and train them. If they leave so be it, thats fine. There are currently 178,000 unfilled apprenticeship vacancies in UK. You’re a bit behind the curve too, the big drive in large corporates is “onshoring” they realise that the days of globalisation are numbered and are busily bringing jobs back.

  3. Duncan
    Posted November 20, 2017 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    As an aside from the cultural Marxist obsessions of this current PM it is worth focusing on the productivity gains to be had by the use of robotic automation of back-office and admin functions in both the private and the public sector. This development will revolutinise the way in which the admin side of all activity is executed. It is happening now and will trigger massive productivity gains and a union backlash, in time

    RPA or Robotic Process Automation will either cause human resources to be diverted to other areas of employment or lead to a significant rise in unemployment over the coming decades

    These type of processes could be implemented today across the public sector but would trigger significant strike action from the unions

    I don’t believe this PM cares one hoot about productivity, more about liberal left agenda, but greater productivity is absolutely fundamental to the entire integrity of the world in which we live. The ability to extract more and more from less and less will become vital as we move forward. The question is does this leader or future leaders have the courage to upset the cozy world of the State’s vested interests?

  4. Ian Wragg
    Posted November 20, 2017 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    Your last paragraph is only possible if we actually leave the EU and are not stuck in the exit as a lot of politicians would like.
    Any more capitulation and your finished.

    • hans chr iversen
      Posted November 20, 2017 at 7:07 am | Permalink

      that really sounds like a lot of rubbish, if we have aa bigger market we can deliver more of those products to the 450 million people

      • eeyore
        Posted November 20, 2017 at 9:56 am | Permalink

        And outside the mighty tariff barricades of the EU customs union we can deliver to 7.1 billion people. Beyond Europe lies – literally – a whole world of opportunities.

        • Rien Huizer
          Posted November 20, 2017 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

          But not on a preferential basis..

          • libertarian
            Posted November 22, 2017 at 9:52 am | Permalink

            Rien Huizer

            “But not on a preferential basis..”

            Wrong , we can negotiate free trade deals with the rest of the world. Internal markets in EU are NOT free trade they are an old style 19th century protected customs union. I already have far easier trading conditions with Brazil, Japan and Canada than I do with Germany and Spain.

      • ian wragg
        Posted November 20, 2017 at 10:11 am | Permalink

        We don’t need any more Baristas or Uber drivers. Either we get out of the rotting mess that is the EU or we go into steady decline.
        Mrs Merkel is finding out just what people think of her open borders programme, still no government and AfD surging in the polls.
        There are 140 plus countries NOT in the EU and most muddle along nicely, none pay a ruinous fee to trade with each other or the EU.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted November 20, 2017 at 10:29 am | Permalink

        Yes, well, I remember this being said before we joined what was then the Common Market, but somehow overall it turned out to be significantly better for their exporting companies than for ours. That is why we are now running an £82 billion trade deficit with the rest of the EU, importing four pounds of goods and services from them for every three pounds that we export in the opposite direction. In principle we could be better off reintroducing barriers to that disadvantageous trade; nevertheless it is your mates in the EU who wish to do that, and not the UK government.

      • NickC
        Posted November 20, 2017 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

        Hans, If what you say is true, why does the EU erect a tariff wall against the rest of the world (an even bigger market)? EU nationalism?

        In any case your big EU corporates are hand-in-glove with the Brussels bureaucrats, which is actually bad for small business and the consumer, especially in the UK. Indeed we call that corruption.

    • APL
      Posted November 20, 2017 at 7:47 am | Permalink

      Ian Wragg: “Any more capitulation and your finished.”

      The Tory party deserves to be finished. It was the party that should have ‘conserved’ our independence, but Heath employed deceit and trickery to get us into the EEC.

      Don’t be surprised if they are using the same tactics to pretend to get us out.

      • Hope
        Posted November 20, 2017 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

        It needs to change tac fast and become a Conservative party. It is in name only. May is heading further left. She has not stopped to think of the majority. It is like her gender neutral claptrap or equality crap. Both are nothing what they appear, thought police labelling and stigmatising anyone who does not agree.

        Celebrate the difference between men and women, look at a stable society a traditional family brings, values and morals from Christianity embedded in our laws and way of life for hundreds of years.

        How many broken homes has increased the pressure on housing? At what cost to welfare, congestion, public services?

        Liberalisation of the criminal justice system since the sixties correlates with a vast increase in prison population. Why should muderers be free after a few years and not locked up for life as promised when capital punishment ended. Murders and criminals even allowed to enter the UK without supervision of any kind from the host nation in the EU!

      • NickC
        Posted November 20, 2017 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

        APL, Indeed, why is this government appeasing the EU as badly as the Heath government did in 1972? It just doesn’t make sense. What are they getting out of it? Can’t the current generation of politicians learn from history?

    • Know-Dice
      Posted November 20, 2017 at 10:08 am | Permalink

      Ian, very very strongly agree with your sentiment – Mr Redwood are your colleagues listening to the Country?

      I hope so !!!

  5. hans chr iversen
    Posted November 20, 2017 at 7:08 am | Permalink


    It sounds like a great idea the last paragraph as long as it becomes and remains competitive

  6. Richard1
    Posted November 20, 2017 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    I read from Continuity Remain that much of this years soft fruit harvest in the U.K. has remained unpicked as EU migrant workers who picked it in the past haven’t come this year due to the Brexit induced fall in £ which makes it not worth their while. This seems an unlikely claim – does anyone know whether it’s true?

    Reply Seems unlikely – there have been plenty of UK strawberries and raspberries in the supermarkets

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted November 20, 2017 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      The statistics show more EU workers here this year than last year. They seem to be voting with their feet for Brexit Britain despite a lower £ (apart from a few moaners on here).

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted November 20, 2017 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

        Maybe there is a better explaniation. Occam’s razor

        • zorro
          Posted November 21, 2017 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

          Yes, the argument with the fewest assumptions. Statistics show that there has been an increase in EU migrants over the last year but you can’t show how many have left…. Hoisted by your own petard!!


    • a-tracy
      Posted November 20, 2017 at 10:15 am | Permalink

      It seems very unlikely, we heard the claim of one farmer who said he’d left about half a million pounds worth of fruit to rot because he couldn’t get it picked, it would have been better to pay Brits twice the minimum wage to pick it if he had the sales, he’d have made a smaller profit but he wouldn’t have made a considerable loss which is what he claimed.

      All does not seem right and we really need to investigate the people locally on the unemployment register who could have done this NMW work but turned it down to stay on benefits.

      • Jagman84
        Posted November 20, 2017 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

        Of course they will turn down minimum wage working. The £26k benefit cap is a £35k gross wage for a worker. At least £20/hour. We are subsidising sloth and it is not sustainable.

        • a-tracy
          Posted November 21, 2017 at 10:09 am | Permalink

          You don’t have to convince me, I know people who haven’t worked for 30 years and I think they’re smart they’d never achieve £35k working. Times running out now though, their eldest children are having children of their own.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted November 21, 2017 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

          Indeed the more benefits you pay the more fecklessness you will get. I do not even blame the feckless really they are behaving rationally given the daft system that pertains.

          Better to have more time if you do not earn any more anyway.

    • Anonymous
      Posted November 20, 2017 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      Figures are showing that record numbers are coming to Britain.

    • Michael Anthony Wood
      Posted November 20, 2017 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

      Richard – you can read the details on

    • John
      Posted November 20, 2017 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

      We can still buy UK raspberries, the taste is so much better as they haven’t been flow over from South Africa or Spain.

      Next year we will have our own thanks to the allotments that still remain.

    • Peter Parsons
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      There was a recent report from Cornwall where they said that staffing levels were at 65% of that actually required and crops were rotting in the fields:

  7. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted November 20, 2017 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    We need more companies to offer good worthwhile apprenticeships and stop young people gaining worthless degrees at uni. Not everyone is academic but the training opportunities are not there anymore. We have a shortage of home grown plumbers, heating engineers, plasterers and sparkies. When my husband gained his City and Guilds with British Gas over 50 years ago it was an intensive 5 year course with practical experience. C&G is still recognised in other parts of the world but not taken much notice of here now. Instead we have tests involving modules with diplomas but the knowledge gained is limited. We must encourage successful companies to provide better training. If Dyson can do it why not others?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 20, 2017 at 10:08 am | Permalink

      Indeed. Also many practical jobs require quite a lot of thinking too to do efficiently. I estimate that at least 75% of the courses at our universities should really not get any government grants or loans at all as they have little value. If people want a hobby fine but let them fund it themselves. Restrict the loans to stem subjects, builders, medical qualifications, management and other areas where there is clear demand.

      Anyway with online Mooc lectures and free learning tools and the likes why does education (in most non hands on areas) need to cost every much at all?

      • a-tracy
        Posted November 21, 2017 at 9:49 am | Permalink

        So you don’t think our world-leading creative industries contribute anything to the UK? The industry employs millions, just think how dry, boring and predictable your life would be without creativity – without the new inventions, clothing, design, arts, films, dance, new gaming technologies. A creative education is as key as Maths.

        “New analysis reveals the arts and culture industry grew by 10% in 2015 – five times faster than the UK economy as a whole – and now contribute £11.8bn. Nicholas Serota, Chair of Arts Council England, which commissioned both reports, praised the “leading role” arts and culture have played in rejuvenating towns and cities across England.

        “But to me the most interesting thing about the role of art and culture is the impact they make across the rest of the creative industries and the economy,” he wrote in a blog, adding: “We must make more of this creative momentum.”

        The research also reveals the Government recoups £5 for every £1 of culture funding, and the sector created 363,000 jobs in 2015.”

    • alan jutson
      Posted November 20, 2017 at 10:44 am | Permalink


      Agree at one time most major companies took in a good quota of apprentices each year.

      Those apprenticeships were usually indentured, involved day release for technical college, night school attendance, and gave training and experience in many departments in order to enrich the skills required, and learnt to maximum effect.

      City and Guilds and NHC, HND were the usual routes.

      Started my work experience in 1964 and still have all the certificates, even the completed indenture forms.

      Perhaps I should offer them to a museum.

  8. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted November 20, 2017 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    On the Andrew Married show yesterday he trued to say to Hammond that the 1.4million unemployed were ‘forgotten’ . I wonder his many of those choose to be unemployed? We all know there are those who just dont want to work because in many cases they are still better off on welfare and doing a bit if wheeling and dealing on the side.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted November 20, 2017 at 9:35 am | Permalink

      To be fair he was referring to shorthand typists. There are very few unemployed shorthand typists in my estimation.

      • APL
        Posted November 20, 2017 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

        Sir Joe Soap: “There are very few unemployed shorthand typists in my estimation.”

        True, but there are probably very few unemployed Wainwrights either.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted November 20, 2017 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      And Hammond’s aim to build 300,000 houses a year!!!

      Lack of housing (affordable) is a two sided coin –

      Side 1 – Too many people
      Side 2 – Not enough houses

      Deal with both… and absolutely don’t build on Green Belt or School “playing” fields…

    • a-tracy
      Posted November 20, 2017 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      I wonder how many of those 1.4 million have been out of work for over three months?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 20, 2017 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

      Indeed if I were only able to earn around the minimum wage I would probably far prefer to be on benefits and have more time to myself and my family, time to manage the shopping and cooking more efficiently not have the costs of travelling to work, childcare, lunch at work and the likes.

      The benefits system augments the problem and encourages many people never even to learn how to work. Clearly some are ill and cannot work but very many choose not too when they could do so easily.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted November 20, 2017 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

      The awkward secret every economist and government knows but daren’t say is that there is an optimal rate of unemployment and it isn’t 0%, in fact it’s probably around the 4% level we have know. If it goes lower, as it did in the 70s I think, companies find it hard to recruit, wage inflation takes off and the unions become very powerful and disruptive. Hammond’s real untruth in that interview was saying he wanted zero unemployment.

  9. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted November 20, 2017 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    Sorry, above should read Andrew Marr. My phone likes to think for itself.

    • oldtimer
      Posted November 20, 2017 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      This is an extremely irritating feature of software that is intended to improve your productivity by thinking for you, rather than for itself as you describe it. Its “intelligence” is indeed “artificial” and a good example why we need to be alert to and wary of such features; in this example to proof read before hitting the send or post button.

      It has happened to me often – so much so that I complained to Google about it via its feedback system, so far to no avail.

      Another aspect of AI to be check out are the prices of products pushed at you if you use Amazon to purchase products. These indeed may be the best price available, but then again they may not.

  10. alan jutson
    Posted November 20, 2017 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    I see James Dyson was thinking of starting his own small University, given the failure of our own education system to provide the engineers of the future.

    I understand from his interview last week on the Marr show, he has already had talks with Government Ministers about the failure of the present system, which is holding industry back.

    Seems we can import students from the EU and pay them grants/loans (which we may or may not get back) but cannot import students from outside the EU because they have to return back to their homes after studying is complete.

    We seem to have to import students from abroad, because we do not have enough young people interested here to take up positions in manufacturing.

    A major fault in the education system that seems to discourage/devalue all types of engineering.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted November 20, 2017 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      This has been going on for years. Try manning an open day for employers at the English Uni of your choice and see how many high class English graduate and more to the point postgraduate engineers come up to your stand.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted November 20, 2017 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      My guess is that even if he started his own University, students would mainly be non-EU so he’d be training them with UK academics to wander off elsewhere afterwards.

      • alan jutson
        Posted November 20, 2017 at 12:19 pm | Permalink


        “..wander off elsewhere..”

        Depends if he would have the common-sense or not to tie them into working for him for a number of years in exchange for tuition, or they can pay a release fee.

        Our armed forces do exactly that, and it seems a very sensible way that suits both sides.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted November 20, 2017 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      I though he [James Dyson] had pretty well done that already –

      What is the Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology?

      The Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology teaches high quality engineering degrees to the next generation of tech enthusiasts, alongside a full time role at Dyson.

      During this four year programme you’ll learn about engineering through hands-on experience in our Research and Development department with academic training provided by WMG, the University of Warwick. You’ll graduate with a Bachelor of Engineering degree.

    • NickC
      Posted November 20, 2017 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

      Alan, The myth that we don’t have enough engineers is false. Think about it – employment in the engineering industry has dwindled over the last 60 years at a fairly steady rate. That means there has always been a surplus of (previously employed) engineers (at whatever level) around. Don’t believe politicians like Vince Cable, or the CBI.

      • alan jutson
        Posted November 20, 2017 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

        Nick C

        You need to be careful who you and the government and the statistics call engineers.

        Certainly there were Millions of employees involved in manufacturing, most were unskilled, many were semi skilled, neither of these categories had any real formal qualifications or lengthy training.
        I would agree many have now gone due to automation and the fact that manufacturing has declined from those day’s, but we also had many highly qualified engineers, not only in design, project management, R&D but also working on the bench, we do not have those numbers now either.

        Many technical colleges were turning out vast numbers of skilled engineers years ago, they do not even exist now in name or in substance.

        • NickC
          Posted November 21, 2017 at 11:19 am | Permalink

          Alan, That’s why I said “engineers (at whatever level)”. And I beg to differ that “most” employed in manufacturing were “unskilled”. In my experience very few were unskilled. In a production line environment most were semiskilled. Where I started most employees were skilled.

          It is still a fact that since employment in engineering has declined over the years, there has been an ongoing surplus of engineers, at whatever level. I know this to my own cost. Just look at the current low advertised pay for a degree level engineering job – money talks.

    • bigneil
      Posted November 20, 2017 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

      As the Panorama Student Loans program showed, students don’t need to attend certain colleges, just see the right person and they will arrange for your ( taxpayer funded) student loan ( of which they want a cut ) and your fake attendance and qualifications will be handed to you. No work, no need to attend and apparently no need to even speak English. How many more of these colleges are doing the same scams. etc ed

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 20, 2017 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

      It opened already, this year I think. Well done Dyson.

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted November 20, 2017 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

      Anyone with the brains to become an engineer can earn several times more in the financial sector.

      • alan jutson
        Posted November 21, 2017 at 2:08 pm | Permalink


        Certainly some truth in your statement.

        Engineering vastly undervalued, so called finance experts, grossly over valued.

    • APL
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      alan jutson: “We seem to have to import students from abroad, because we do not have enough young people interested here to take up positions in manufacturing.”

      It ain’t just manufacturing!

      Look at the NHS!! It runs its own training program but still cannot produce enough doctors and nurses, causing it to poach professionals from other countries.

      Just goes to show, if the government does something, it does it badly.

  11. Richard1
    Posted November 20, 2017 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    Why are Mrs May and Mr Davis so useless at addressing the a Irish border question? Surely the answer is very simple – the UK won’t be implementing a hard border as we expect a free trade deal with the EU and may decide not to put up tariff walls into the UK even if there isn’t one. So it’s up to the EU whether they want to force Ireland to put up a hard border.

    Reply The UK has set out how it will have a soft border which it can implement unilaterally if the EU does not agree to such a sensible proposal

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted November 20, 2017 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply: Except that the soft border solution only works with a free trade arrangement, and the EU won’t go for that without strings attached. Therefore by saying we will walk away and go straight to a WTO arrangement we are accepting de facto that there will be a hard border across Ireland. We need to put in place an arrangement which will avoid a hard border but be possible under WTO rules. Such an arrangement would be a special trading area for Ireland, where both the EU and UK agree free movement of goods and people on the island, and both are checked in and out of GB and EU respectively as desired by each party. It would also give the Irish and NI by default massive say over their tax rates etc, which would light a fire under the EU’s harmonisation ideas. We need something imaginative that the EU can’t say No to, but would also benefit NI and us, and the Irish.

    • rose
      Posted November 20, 2017 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      The Chief Minister of Gibraltar is setting a fine example to the Southern Irish on how to make the best of Brexit and not the worst.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 20, 2017 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      To reply: Let us hope you are right and they do. The Irish should leave too.

  12. am
    Posted November 20, 2017 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Big couple of weeks coming up. The spite of the EU as demonstrated by the statements of Tusk and the Irish were their spiteful responses to the successful rejection of so many amendments in the bill through parliament. Britain needs to toughen up in its statements. All or nothing should be the position. I wonder how the eu will try to block the uk trading at all with other countries on exit.

    • JonP
      Posted November 20, 2017 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      am.. All or nothing stance will result in just that..nothing..they will fold their tents and depart for the Christmas break..probably reconvening after Easter time..which is early next year. As someone else said before, if this goes wrong the repercussions won’t be felt at the level of government ministers but in the sea ports and airports with business trying to get through bloody minded pissed off french customs and in the airports at the immigration desks because officials might have the audicity to go on strike or have a lunch break.. we have no idea yet of how this will all turn our out- so better not wish for ‘nothing’ – just my opinion

  13. Turboterrier.
    Posted November 20, 2017 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    It is normally easier to get from a job to a better paid job, than to get from unemployment into work.

    Totally agree John and our biggest problem is we do not have an education system that is geared in the way to teach children from an early age to have a CV mentality.

    When I worked within an ISO 9000 system it was amazing that all the employees l had skills outside their skill set and the company were never aware of just what they were employing.

    We tried to get our staff to go back through their life and identify what actual skills they had be it life, trade or professional skills. Would love a pound for every time I was asked “why were we never taught this in school?

    There is more to going to school than just achieving academic qualifications. Everyday life skills are just as important as numerous companies will vouch for.

  14. Lifelogic
    Posted November 20, 2017 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    The other thing that would increase UK wage levels is the restricting of low skilled immigration and the encouraging of high skilled and people with wealth to come to the UK (and not to leave). The Osborne attacks on Non Doms was hugely misguided (as was almost everything the man did). The government shooting itself in the foot as usual. A new regime to encourage inward investment and hardworking and wealthy individuals to come to the UK (and not to leave) is needed. Abolish IHT and stamp duty and have a tax cap of say £150K PA per person PA. Why should anyone pay more than this for the very poor services that the government deliver in return?

    The government spends (largely wastes) about £10K per head of population and deliver very little of value for it. So even for a family £150K in tax PA is more than enough for the rich – especially as they are likely to be using private schools and healthcare, and paying loads of VAT, duties and probably employing staff.

    If you let uncontrolled, low skilled (and thus low paid) people to come to the UK, perhaps paying just a few thousand in tax and NI, perhaps also with children and/or some elderly relatives in tow. Plus they need housing, hospitals, police, doctors, social services, roads, defence and other infrastructure then they clearly depress UK GDP per cap hugely. Why can no one on the remainiac side and so few in government understand this basic logic?

    Why on earth did May rule out a points based system of immigration? What system does she want then?

  15. Iain Moore
    Posted November 20, 2017 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Sorry completely off topic, but how on earth can Mrs May be thinking of doubling our monetary offer to the EU while there is no Government in Germany, and where no decision can be made. Double it, triple it , if there isn’t the political authority in Germany to make a decision we will be wasting our money.

    • georgeP
      Posted November 20, 2017 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      Iain Moore, in case you havn’t noticed Germany and Mrs Merkel have taken a back seat in all of this- and probably deliberately so. We are dealing with the EU Commission and behind that the EU Council of EU27 and that’s the reality. Even Macron has gone off the radar.

      • Iain Moore
        Posted November 20, 2017 at 11:45 am | Permalink

        David Davis, in interviews over the last few days, suggested that the hold outs to negotiating a trading deal was Germany and France.

      • rose
        Posted November 20, 2017 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

        This may be true but it is also the case that Frau Merkel can still do what she likes until she is replaced. The old government is still the government until the new one is formed.

      • Chris
        Posted November 20, 2017 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

        Actually, I believe they are doing just what Greece described: firing from all sorts of canons, and from different positions and at different times. Confusion tactic, and designed not only to confuse but to overwhelm. You simply do not know exactly with whom you are really negotiating.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 20, 2017 at 10:44 am | Permalink

      As a taxpayer I would very much like to see an itemised invoice before I make any contribution to this so-called “exit bill”. I don’t usually get a tradesman asking me to make an offer of how much I will pay for the work he has done, that would seem a very strange way to go about it, and in this case I don’t know why David Davis and Theresa May have just accepted that it is up to the UK to make an offer to the EU rather than down to the EU to present its detailed bill to the UK. If there is in fact such a bill why won’t the UK government publish it so that those who will be expected to pay can examine it beforehand, or at least MPs can scrutinise it?

  16. Bert Young
    Posted November 20, 2017 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Incentives and productivity are closely linked . It has always been the case that when an individual is more inspired – for all sorts of reasons , he/she will contribute more . Organisations have to look carefully at what others are doing and , if they do not equal or compare favourably with competitors , stand to lose key employees . Independent surveys are conducted from time to time to assist in this process with reports made directly to the Board room .

    Communication from the top of a company to every employee is a key ingredient to its success ( this does not mean employee representation on the Board which I am very much against ). The Chief Executive has to know what he is doing and must always keep his forward planning details in mind ; if he strays from his plans the company will sense this and its day to day trust will be damaged . I have always maintained that front line supervision is the key to operating efficiency .

    • Man of Kent
      Posted November 20, 2017 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      Absolutely !
      Just like Wellington at Waterloo with a coalition army , but supremely well served by brilliant NCO’s who kept it all together .

      In a private company in which I am a shareholder we regularly give two profit related bonuses a year to all employees . The company is plant based with two or three machines often operating together in support of a main contractor .
      Much depends on the individual operators so that they also become salesmen and keep repeat orders coming along .

  17. Peter
    Posted November 20, 2017 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Controlling immigration would increase demand for British workers and drive up wages.

    A workfare approach might encourage people away from the comfort of social security and back into the workplace.

    A permanent unemployed underclass is in nobody’s best interest.

    • John
      Posted November 20, 2017 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

      Nicely put Peter.

  18. Harold Sharples
    Posted November 20, 2017 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    “Raising employee productivity can take place in several ways.”
    … Raising productivity always boils down to the same thing: Raising innovation. It doesn’t matter whether a business’s offerings become more innovative or its business model becomes more innovative .. productivity is the outcome.
    In other words, our business leaders (and prospective business leaders) need to get better at (a) fostering innovation .. and (b) focusing it to create superior business models.
    Having taught and shown both (named people ed) how to achieve this in the US I came back to the UK to help our SME entrepreneurs (and would-be entrepreneurs) to create High-Growth-Ready Startups. The UK’s High Growth Businesses are those 10,000 or so SMEs that create more new jobs every year that the rest of entire remaining 5.5 million or so businesses in the economy. Increasing the number of High Growth Businesses (now often referred to as “Scale-ups”) we will significantly improve employment, our economy, our productivity and our competitiveness worldwide.
    When we talk about productivity it behoves us to remember that innovation is the key. And if there’s one things we Brits have proved good at over the years it’s innovation. Innovating how we innovate holds the key to becoming significantly more innovative.

  19. English Pensioner
    Posted November 20, 2017 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Foolishly. we got rid of the Technical Colleges where people learnt various skills as well as studying for higher qualifications.

    I went to a technical college and studied electrical engineering part time, and in due course became a member of the then Institution of Electrical Engineers, Because I had both practical and academic qualification my skills were in demand and I had a good career. But there were others there who learnt more practical skills, bricklayers, electricians, plumbers and motor mechanics.

    Technical colleges also allowed employers to send people, often apprentices, to study part time to learn the theoretical side of their work which would enable them to move on to higher level work.

    I would never have done so well in the modern all-academic environment of a University and I suspect there are many like me.

    We should bring back the practical work oriented technical colleges and polytechnics and get rid of the pseudo-universities offering only generally worthless degrees and huge debts.

    • alan jutson
      Posted November 20, 2017 at 6:28 pm | Permalink


      Totally agree with your comments

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 7:11 am | Permalink

      English pensioner

      I so agree with your comments. Stop all these Mickey Mouse degrees and get back to basics.

    • stred
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 9:00 am | Permalink

      I went to a polytechnic to learn architecture, where we had to learn the details of services ,materials and structures as well as design and history of architecture. I was able to work as a technician if necessary but still won some design competitions. A young architect lodges in my house and we often have a chat about the job. When the toilet flush stopped working, he phoned to ask what to do. I said put a bucket down to flush it and I would call to fix the handle. He said he couldn’t understand what to do with the bucket. I explained what a washdown pan was and that this bog was not syphonic.

      He explained that at his school of architecture he was taught to be a ‘conceptual architect’ and had never been taught about details. Perhaps this is why so many builings built to the latest fashion stain and crack after 10 years.

      • alan jutson
        Posted November 21, 2017 at 2:11 pm | Permalink


        Great post, shame it is so true.

        The difference between learning theory, and having practical knowledge and experience..

  20. Chris
    Posted November 20, 2017 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    If Morgan gets her way there won’t be able to enjoy the better prospects for us that Brexit will offer. Her article on Conservative Home seems to demonstrate, in my view, smugness and ignorance, but it is quite clear about the intent, which in effect will bring down this government, if successful:

  21. Rien Huizer
    Posted November 20, 2017 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    Your reasoning has a few, well known flaws:

    Productivity is a complex concept but the UK’s relative weakness (re Germany, Netherlands and even France) has imo at least three sources:1. High proportion of services in GDP. Services less sensitive to capital investment -> less dynamic response to technology -> lower productivity growth. Services also hide low-skilled unemployment (but UK imports low skilled people, especially from outside EU, illegals. Problem to be researched.
    2. UK is not a “head office” country for companies with dynamic productivity manufacturing, hence technology is applied more selectively than in countries with the opposite profile like Germany and Japan
    3. UK headquartered non-services companies tend to manufacture abroad (see for instance Dyson: Malaysia) and locate their productivity gains there.

    The first is non-controversial, 2 and 3 are more speculative.

    Juxtapose this to UK’s future and where would you thing would those UK investments in manufacturing come from? Front line supervision is useful but has a very limited effect: catch up to the less lazy.

  22. Denis Cooper
    Posted November 20, 2017 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    It is obviously true that “The UK economy has been good at creating many new jobs over the last seven years”, but less obviously it is also true that the gross number of new jobs created over that period will greatly exceed the net increase in employment to which this statement most probably refers.

    That is to say, the normal employment “churn” in the UK economy will mean that large numbers of previously existing jobs have disappeared, but fortunately somewhat greater numbers of new jobs have been created. As described in some detail here:

    “The UK labour market is incredibly dynamic, and would adapt quickly to changed relationships with the EU. Prior to the financial crisis, the UK saw on average 4 million jobs created and 3.7 million jobs lost each year – i.e. there is substantial churn of jobs at any given time. Indeed, the annual creation and destruction of jobs is almost exactly
    the same scale as the estimated 3-4 million jobs that are associated with exports to EU actors.”

  23. Epikouros
    Posted November 20, 2017 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    I suspect the abysmal low productivity of government and public sector workers seriously downgrades the data we have on productivity. That is not to say that the private sector needs considerable improvements at least some parts of it do. As for skilled workers our modern culture and education system that are so contaminated by socialist and progressive thinking is the cause for most of the shortage and other problems.

    Unemployment may not be as low as we believe it is even though statistical it would appear to confirm that belief. The reason is the number who are not seeking work and I would opine are many more than historically normal due to the many more who are going on to further education , the black economy(distorted by immigration) and those who find welfare sufficient for their needs.

    • Martin
      Posted November 20, 2017 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      How is public sector productivity measured? I’d like to know

      • stred
        Posted November 21, 2017 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

        The more of a nuisance they make for the taxes spent, the greater the productivity.

  24. The PrangWizard
    Posted November 20, 2017 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    I prefer to use productive efficiency rather than productivity. Increasing output with the same old methods is of limited economic benefit to the nation as a whole when we import millions of workers to do it; too much of it being of the lifestyle type, especially with the problems they bring in terms of accommodating them and so on. What will the nation do in the next recession when we’ve promised them they can stay? There’s going to be a big benefits bill.

    The concentration ought to be on how to make more with the same or with less and fewer people, and I don’t mean just concentrate on software developments. Wages will rise that way. Employers won’t invest in new machinery and methods to make physical things we use all the time as long as they can get cheap labour. Keeping an old machine going for a few more hours a day by hiring another worker is all very well in output terms but the unit cost is more or less the same. Many employers are lazy, suspicious of government competence or can’t get the money, and this of course brings us to the wilful neglect and destruction of our manufacturing industry where we now need to import vast quantities of products we once made ourselves, along with the machine tools to make them.

    The Chancellor talks about our ‘jobs factory’. I won’t call him a fool but if I didn’t laugh I cry.

  25. Mactheknife
    Posted November 20, 2017 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    “The UK has a great opportunity to replace more imports with domestic production given the improvement in our competitiveness in the last couple of years”.

    VAT, Green RO taxes etc are making us uncompetitive slowly killing any sort of manufacturing industry.

    What are your suggestions John ?

  26. Prigger
    Posted November 20, 2017 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Growing uncertainty in the Merkel camp as talks with other parties collapsed late last night.
    The Free Democratic Party (FDP walked out of talks saying “It was better not to govern than to govern badly”, Well, properly translated that means NO Deal is Better than a Bad Deal” I wonder from where they got that massive wisdom 🙂

  27. VotedOut
    Posted November 20, 2017 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    es, but it could be so much better …

    Outside the London and the home counties transport links are very flaky.

    This has a huge impact on people trying to work. It is very common for bus services to be axed with the result that people can no-longer get to work and have to give up. This then results in people being penalised for ‘voluntarily’ giving up work when seeking state support.

    The jobs may be there and people want them, but it is very difficult to travel to them in the current fragmented transport system. Using a bike is hardly practical in all cases.

    This is one example of the lack of joined up policy thinking going on – in all political parties.

  28. Peter
    Posted November 20, 2017 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Of course many businesses look to cut manufacturing costs by moving production overseas for cheaper labour costs.

    They also seek to promote immigration from poorer countries to keep domestic labour costs down.

    There seems to be a lot less patriotism in business these days.

    Governments make the situation worse by catering for business interests rather than those of their general electorate.

  29. Denis Cooper
    Posted November 20, 2017 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    I’m frankly staggered that Michel Barnier is still going on about the UK not being allowed to “cherry pick” parts of the EU Single Market as if this was something new that we should start to think about.

    I wonder if he even bothered to read Theresa May’s Lancaster House speech of January 17th, ten months ago now:

    “That is why our objectives include a proposed free trade agreement between Britain and the European Union, and explicitly rule out membership of the EU’s single market. Because when the EU’s leaders say they believe the four freedoms of the single market are indivisible, we respect that position.”

    It’s really very simple: we don’t mind three of their “four freedoms”, the three to do with free trade, and even though that free trade is overall to our disadvantage, but we can no longer accept the fourth which unnecessarily links trade with immigration.

    And as the EU decided to be intransigent and stubbornly refused to be flexible on that economically unnecessary linkage we have no choice but to leave the Single Market and trade with its members from outside, just as 160-odd other countries around the world trade with the members of the Single Market from outside.

    I’m getting fed up with these arrogant EU demands for “clarity” about what we want when Theresa May made it perfectly clear what we want ten months ago. And I’m getting fed up with the failure of the UK government to rebut any of the rubbish which is being put about by the EU and by its fifth column of Remoaner friends here at home.

    • Andy
      Posted November 20, 2017 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

      In one answer you sum up the embarrassing truth about Brexit. It is not about economics at all. It is about a dislike of foreigners. Pathetic.

      For the record, there is not – and never has been – freedom of movement of people written in to EU law. It is freedom of movement of WORKERS. People are allowed to move to work – as hundreds of thousands of Britons can attest because they have done it in Germany, France and Spain.

      The fact that repeated inept British governments have messed this up is not the EU’s fault. The blame lays entirely with Westminster. Perhaps if MPs spent less time fiddling their expenses, groping their assistants and looking at porn on their computers they’d do a better job.

      Finally – you really all need to get over yourselves. Immigrants are here to stay – and our country is better for it. It’s 2017 – not 1953.

      • jack Snell
        Posted November 21, 2017 at 10:05 am | Permalink

        Well said Andy..that’s socking it to ’em

      • David Price
        Posted November 21, 2017 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

        Straight off the Europarl factsheet on the EU …

        “Freedom of movement and residence for persons in the EU is the cornerstone of Union citizenship, established by the Treaty of Maastricht in 1992.”

        Change your record.

      • stred
        Posted November 21, 2017 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

        It may surprise you but a number of Brexiteers who post here are ‘foreign’ or are married to ‘foreigners’ and have half ‘foreign’ children. Perhaps this is why you think we dislike them? You complain that you are finding that housing is too expensive but will not consider the obvious link to overpopulation of the most crowded part of western Europe. Did you get all your delusions from a British university and schooling and how recently? If so we need to find some teachers who have a grasp of reality.

      • rose
        Posted November 21, 2017 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

        The first directive gave Free Movement to workers but it was supplanted by a second which gave Free Movement to people.

        • rose
          Posted November 21, 2017 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

          And notice they were both directives, i.e. no-one ever voted for them.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted November 22, 2017 at 9:12 am | Permalink

        I would reply to you if JR allowed me to, which he doesn’t even though your attack was directed at me personally and I provided my own response.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted November 22, 2017 at 9:15 am | Permalink

          I will repeat it:

          Nothing I have written connotes a dislike of foreigners, and it is pathetic that you should fall back on such a feeble argument.

          For the record, ……ltry reading the EU treaties where it is persons in general and not just workers:

          “RESOLVED to facilitate the free movement of persons … ”

          “Article 3 … 2. The Union shall offer its citizens an area of freedom, security and justice without internal frontiers, in which the free movement of persons is ensured … ”

          “Article 26 … 2. The internal market shall comprise an area without internal frontiers in which the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital is ensured … ”

          “Immigrants are here to stay” – I have repeatedly said here and elsewhere that well-behaved EU citizens who have already accepted the invitation to settle here should not disadvantaged by Brexit.

          Your trouble is that you have picked the wrong side and you are lined up against your own country.

  30. lojolondon
    Posted November 20, 2017 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    John, the whole ‘productivity’ story is a load of hogwash. The moment we stop annual levels of untrained people who cannot speak English, all those numbers will change.

  31. Ed Mahony
    Posted November 20, 2017 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    @Dear Mr Redwood,

    Two young fellows from the Rep of Ireland have now just become billionaires after setting up a software company called Stripe.

    Can the Conservative government please give more support to entrepreneurs in general, including those in software development. Software dev. requires relatively little capital to get going. It does require some software coding skills and also knowledge of business and marketing. Something that a lot of young entrepreneurs need help with. The returns would be huge. Not forgetting how closely related the software industry is to the high-tech industry in general, as well as digital marketing and the creative digital industry as well. Resulting in a lot money to our national economy and decent, well-paid jobs. Also, important as the financial sector is, we don’t want all our eggs in the one basket.


    • Ed Mahony
      Posted November 20, 2017 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      ‘Also, important as the financial sector is, we don’t want all our eggs in the one basket’

      – by that I mean we don’t want a brain drain to the City of London (important as the city is).

      A good friend of mine works in the City. He has an OK job, probably earning 100 to 150K. He’s brilliant at Maths and computer studies and no doubt, if he had set up his own software company, would now be a multi millionaire. But that kind of thing was off his radar. Because most of his school and university friends went into the City, he felt thought he should as well.

      So we need to change the culture that if you go to one of the leading universities and/or schools in this country, doesn’t mean you should consider going into the City as the first choice of making money.

      Sadly, it seems that people such as Boris Johnson sees the expansion of the financial sector as the answer to our country’s financial woes. Rather, we need to focus more on the high tech industry, software, and digital in general – so we don’t have all our eggs in one basket.

  32. nigel seymour
    Posted November 20, 2017 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    So, We are clearly reaching a point where EU and UK negotiations are becoming ‘strained’.
    Not wishing to appear too Britishly pragmatic – I’m sure that EU leavers will accept 20bn as a starter – Why can’t we offer a further 10bn SUBJECT to an acceptable trade deal before March 2019? No deal then we leave without paying a penny, Good trade deal then we cough up with great reluctance.

  33. ian
    Posted November 20, 2017 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    Better jobs for UK people, I can’t see it happening. WHY, gov look at the extra taxes more people coming into the country bring in, like vat, fuel, transport and employment taxes and not at what they have to pay out to the extra people coming in and service needed, it’s a, they can make do attitude. Companies look at the extra goods, and services they are going to sell/ while saving on training, and banks look at the amount of debt they can issue to new customers even if they don’t get back the money/ because of out of thin air money. No party elected to govern is going to stop it. You can only stop it by direct rule from the 650 areas in the country, who pick their own PMs and do not belong to a party.

  34. onceuponatime
    Posted November 20, 2017 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Things are moving very fast now..Mrs Merkel and her party are in trouble.. there may be another election in Germany yet so IDS idea about harnessing the german car workers to put pressure on in our favour is in limbo..Barnier has been spelling it out again, money, the Irish border and the movement of people post brexit. .indeed he goes further and talks about the four freedoms of the EU on Goods, Services, People and Capital, but there is more..he says the further UK removes itself from the EU sphere the more difficult it will be to get the favourable agreement for future trade that we need- cherry picking will not be allowed- Of course there are those who say that we don’t want any future agreement with Europe but only with international countries according to WTO rules. The cabinet is meeting this afternoon- we can only wish them the best in their deliberations

  35. ian
    Posted November 20, 2017 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Housing is now a priority in the budget / because they are running out of housing for immigrant workers.

    • Prigger
      Posted November 20, 2017 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

      They are trying to tie down British young people with mortgages above their heads so they will not be able to emigrate away from a Diverse nation lunged upon them where it is now impossible to speak freely as a Briton, write freely as a Briton, have values of a Briton, worship as a Briton and socialise as a Briton, even tell a joke as a Briton.

  36. ian
    Posted November 20, 2017 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    EU says, give us more money or UK banks will lose passporting rights to the EU. I say/ that’s ok as long as you send back all the money uk taxpayers and banks have lent to the EU banks and companies over the last 9 years to bail them out.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted November 20, 2017 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

      They are not EU banks, they are foreign banks based in the UK. The true UK banks do very little business in the EU, except HSBC. Which is not really a UK bank as the name indicates. So only the foreigners need passporting. But also the foreigners are the only ones that can afford to leave..

  37. Peter
    Posted November 20, 2017 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    If Mrs. May is about to offer the EU more money £40 billion as has been reported, then true Brexiteers have a duty to bring down the leadership and the key remain ministers such as Hammond and Rudd.

    • ian wragg
      Posted November 20, 2017 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

      I do believe that if she offers any more money she will quite rightly be deposed.
      There is no legal and I doubt a very slim moral case for paying a divorce bill.
      With the shortage of money for public services, to offer more to Brussels should start a revolution.

    • DaveM
      Posted November 20, 2017 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

      Quite right Peter.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted November 20, 2017 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

      Read Saturday’s FT. Excellent breakdown of “moneis” and good start for looking at what should and what might not be conceded.

  38. Andy
    Posted November 20, 2017 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    An amusing post.

    Brexit means many thousands of good jobs are pointlessly going.

    The European Medicines Agency is moving out of London. Highly qualified and well paid scientists will go with it.

    As a bonus, we will have to duplicate the structure which was already there (but it will cost us more as the UK will no longer share the bill) and it will be slower to get new drugs approved.

    So fewer well paid jobs, more bureaucrats and delays for terminally ill cancer patients to get new treatments. This is what Brexit means. I note that you didn’t put this bit on the side of a bus.

    We also learn the European Banking Authority is moving – and that Brexit means no equivalence for City firms. This is also not what you said during the referendum campaign.

    So you can talk about good jobs all you like. It is typical Brexiteer hot air. Still, if we could bottle and sell the dross you all come out with, we’d be rich.

    • a-tracy
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      We will have a UK Medicines Agency, if the EU doesn’t wish to co-operate with us there is a whole world out there and something has been going seriously wrong with our medicines. We’ve been told now to suffer on for weeks on end because antibiotics aren’t working and we’re getting resistant and should be used as a last stop only, there’s an advert on tv at the moment. There is mixed opinion about the new flu jabs and whether they’re actually causing more harm than good. How much UK funding was going to the European Medicines Agency we should divert that money to the best medical research universities in the UK, British Pharma companies should support their research programs if they don’t already. We must look to the future and stop harping on about the past – millions are raised in Charity funds for Cancer research and other medical charities in the UK perhaps now we must concentrate on new partners and links with other important Universities around the World if the EU have turned their backs on us. This is why we can’t allow this just to drag on now whilst they asset strip our Country.

      “In the words of England’s chief medical officer, Sally Davies: “The world is facing an antibiotic apocalypse.” Unless action is taken to halt the practices that have allowed antimicrobial resistance to spread and ways are found to develop new types of antibiotics, we could return to the days when routine operations, simple wounds or straightforward infections could pose real threats to life, she warns.”

  39. Denis Cooper
    Posted November 20, 2017 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    Off topic:

    “Europe will reject UK trade deal if Britain cuts EU red tape after Brexit, warns Michel Barnier”

    Clearly the EU does not want a trade deal. If it did it would not insist on mucking around with time-wasting sequential negotiations, and it would not put maximisation of the bung it hopes to receive above sorting out a new trade deal, and it would not make a demand such as this which it knows no patriotic UK government can possibly accept.

    So let’s not waste any more time and energy on this; and we certainly shouldn’t respond by increasing the bribe that some supporters of the EU say we must offer just to get trade negotiations started, instead we should say now that we only wish to discuss technical measures to facilitate continued trade under WTO terms.

  40. Tabulazero
    Posted November 20, 2017 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    You are supposed to be a free trader, Mr Redwood. How is this even compatible with what you have written?

    Raising productivity takes time. In the meantime, jobs will go to low cost countries with higher productivity outside Europe.

    Surely you are not the kind to argue for protectionist policies as the UK restructures.

    Reply I believe in the UK taking actions to promote growth and help its citizens. It is typical that you wish first to caricature me and then criticise me for not living up to your caricature.

  41. Prigger
    Posted November 20, 2017 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    We should see the Merkel phenomenon as an indication that things are not what they seem in the EU. We have seen a chaotic Germany once or twice in Europe’s history. We know from experience that a mere ostensibly trivial rift in Germany is but the tip of the iceberg with the bulk hidden beneath. We should get out of the EU without a deal. Just get out!

  42. Peter gardner
    Posted November 20, 2017 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    The political debate seems to be about the low skilled end of the jobs market. The numbers are greater, the impact on the public purse and public services greater and mass immigration does nothing for Britain and displaces Britons from jobs by lower in wages. Industry will do whatever it must The government must focus on improving government run education and training which, clearly does not produce people with the either skills or the attitude that is needed to drive industrial growth. In addition the government can help industry with intelligently designed incentives. Alas Mrs May’s understanding of industry is negligible and the bulk of Tory policies are weighted towards socialist feather bedding of also rans and those with their hands stretched out. Don’t give billions to the EU but use it to stimulate British productivity growth.

  43. Peter
    Posted November 20, 2017 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    Now aides are claiming the £40 billion reports are ‘pure speculation’. Not a straight denial – but better than a confirmation at least.

    If Merkel is under pressure the UK should make the running. Leave under WTO terms as soon as possible. If the EU then wish to mitigate the effects we can have negotiations later. If they want to accept the situation so be it.

  44. backtothefuture
    Posted November 20, 2017 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    Heard the one about the English ship captain who interrupted the civil court in Marseilles by saying that he wanted the courts business to be conducted in the English language because english was the commercial language of the world. The captain was in court to swear Force Majure over some cargo that was damaged in a storm. What I saw then was the three judges went into a huddle and came out, gathered up all of their papers and departed the bench. “What happened” said the captain, it being now three o’clock in the afternoon on a Friday. Well said the agent they have adjourned until the next session. Do you mean to tell me said the captain that I have to keep the ship here in port until Monday now? Ah no said the agent until Tuesday.. because Monday is a public holiday!

  45. anon
    Posted November 20, 2017 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

    £40 BILLION= 40,000,000,000 , so divided by say 200,000= 200,000.

    So we could at sales price purchase 200,000 homes outright. Never mind new build at cost.

    Cant wait to see Hammonds budget preparing for the giveaways to the EU?

    Will we see the end of UK gold-plated public sector pensions?

  46. Prigger
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 12:40 am | Permalink

    If you’re going to give £20 billion away without a Referendum then why not 40 Billion without a Referendum. However 40 billion could be seen as Hard Brexit..that is hard on us. 20 Billion is Soft Brexit. Real Brexit being zero.

  47. Prigger
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 12:46 am | Permalink

    Amber Rudd was in Parliament today answering questions still.

  48. Ed Mahony
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    The average salary in the digital industries is 44pc higher than the national average.’ – Telegraph.

    I hardly hear anyone in the Tory Party talking about how vital growing the high tech industry at the moment. Does the Conservative Party have a detailed strategy for growing the tech industry? No ambitions for the UK to become Europe’s (not the EU’s) Silicon Valley? Not forgetting that we are the country of Cambridge University, Sir Isaac Newton, and Sir Tim Berners-Lee?

    The Rep of Ireland has currently just produced two software billionaires both still in their 20’s. We’ve got to surely focus a lot, lot more on the high tech industry (and not have all our eggs in the one basket focusing so much on the City of London)?

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      I fear that Boris Johnson, and some others like in him in the Tory Party, has no interest or knowledge of the High Tech industry at all and whose business sense just comes from chums in the City and their plans for trying to turn the UK into a European Singapore.

      The Conservative Party has to talk more about its vision for the economy – and not just whether we’re in the EU, out of the EU, or half in or half out of the EU.

    • David Price
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

      Why don’t you do some basic research before criticising people?

      To get you started explore the Catapult programme and Innovate UK.

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted November 21, 2017 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

        I’m not criticising.
        If the Tories want to stop socialist Jeremy Corbyn from getting into power, then they’ve to talk a lot more and openly and clearly about their economic vision for the future, including things like the high tech industry, software, digital and so on.

  49. Ken Moore
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    Dr Redwood,

    If we no longer have to contribute the £1.2 billion we are then sending to the EU for its overseas aid programme, we still have to carry on spending this ourselves, as part of that proportion of our GDP we are now committed to spend on aid by our own UK law. ?

    Furthermore we would continue paying £4.5 billion a year to maintain the existing level of subsidies to farming and regional funding.? What about the £1.2 billion given to private bodies, such as universities, for research.?

    And how are we going to wriggle out of £300 billion of future EU spending to which were committed by decisions to which we have already formally agreed as an EU member, amounting to some £5 billion a year. ?

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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