The UK Government is set to fund a business-led initiative designed to improve management skills and business productivity, after Chancellor Philip Hammond’s announcement within the Autumn Statement 2016.

The new UK Productivity Council will help narrow the “long-standing productivity gap” between the UK and Germany, the USA, France and Italy and encourage start-ups and small businesses to play a key role in improving the UK’s productivity rate.

It’s thought that, should the Council prove successful, the initiative could unlock up to £100bn of gross value added (GVA) each year.

Backed by £13m worth of Government seed funding, phased over three years, the new council was proposed following discussions among UK business leaders, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and the Institute of Directors (IoD).

The council will feature an advisory board, a chief executive and a five-strong leadership team, supported by up to 15 staff, drawing on the industry expertise of the business leaders that have contributed to date.

Sir Charlie Mayfield, chairman, John Lewis Partnership, said: “For many ‘productivity’ is the language of economists, but it’s also critical to a healthy heartbeat for the economy, for wages and for competitiveness.

“While Government has a key role to play in creating the conditions for growth, businesses have to be the prime movers in boosting Britain’s productivity.

“I welcome the Government’s support for a UK Productivity Council which will encourage and support businesses.”

The plans discussed for the Council include:

  • Creating a single point of contact for businesses requiring productivity assistance
  • Building a range of benchmarking tools, in conjunction with the Council’s development partners, to improve productivity overview
  • Creating ‘productivity hubs’ to connect businesses with industry leaders in their area and see what measures work best for other firms
  • Regional employer-driven hubs to promote business productivity through professionals
  • Use of data and analytics to create evidence-based legislation

Greg Clark, Business Secretary, said: “Boosting productivity is a key part of this government’s industrial strategy, making sure the UK economy is fit for the future.

“That’s why last week we announced the £23bn National Productivity Investment Fund, including £13m for the new UK Productivity Council.