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The Budget downgrade: productivity crunch

Britain had lost the knack of turning smart ideas into prosperity—even before it had to reckon with Brexit. But there is something we can do

By Diane Coyle   December 2017

The attention of officials in Brexit Britain is focused, laser-like, on productivity. Away from the world of policy and economics, the term washes over most people as business-speak. For those responsible for policy, however, productivity is not just an important question: it is the question. The Chancellor’s Budget red book—and his scope for spending more on the pressing demands he’s juggling—is framed by estimates about where productivity is heading. That’s because virtually all his numbers are affected by the forecasts of the independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) for growth, which…

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