Productivity: 3rd May 2016

Jo Cox (Batley and Spen) (Lab)
15. What recent assessment he has made of trends in productivity levels. [904778]

The Minister for Small Business, Industry and Enterprise (Anna Soubry)
Productivity, measured as output per hour worked, increased by 1% in 2015 as a whole—the largest annual increase since 2011—and is now 1.7% higher than it was in 2008.

Jo Cox
The reality is that this Government’s record on productivity has been one of failure. Last July, they launched their deeply underwhelming productivity plan, which was damned by the Select Committee on Business, Innovation and Skills as

“a vague collection of existing policies”,​

the Committee warning that it risked

“collecting dust on Whitehall bookshelves”.

Can the Minister update the House on what steps she is taking to improve on the Government’s record to date?

Anna Soubry
I am sorry that it seems the hon. Lady did not hear my answer; I remind her that productivity is now 1.7% higher than it was in 2008 and we saw its largest annual increase since 2011 only last year. I do not know where she is getting her information from—I have my suspicions—but unfortunately she is wrong. This Government are absolutely committed to improving productivity, and we have already heard, by way of example, the Minister for Skills talking about the work we are doing to ensure that we have the right skills—that is an essential part of an effective productivity plan.