The UK's three European competitors - France, Germany and Italy - have shown little real productivity improvement in the last couple of years. Perhaps the one bright spot for the British economy, however, is the increase from early 1991 - when our index figure stood at around 115 - to the latest figure showing an impressive score of around 128, not far short of the Italians figure and considerably above that of Germany and France. This, rather than devaluations and other quick-fixes, should prove the best route to economic recovery. But to maintain it, order books will either have to improve or costs be reduced by pay restraint and, unfortunately, job cuts.
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