October 8, 2018 / 10:21 AM / 7 days ago

UK tasks BoE's Haldane with overseeing productivity push

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s government has turned to the chief economist of the Bank of England, Andy Haldane, to oversee the country’s attempts to improve its weak productivity record.

FILE PHOTO: A McLaren 720S is assembled on the factory floor of the McLaren Automotive Production Centre Woking, Britain September 12, 2017. REUTERS/Chris J. Ratcliffe/Pool/File Photo

Haldane will chair the Industrial Strategy Council, comprising business leaders, academics and civil society representatives, which will assess progress on Britain’s industrial strategy.

“The industrial strategy is one of the most critical strands of work taking place across government and has the potential to raise living standards across the whole of the UK, boost people’s earning powers and put the UK at the forefront of future industries internationally,” Haldane said in a statement.

The Chief Economist of the Bank of England, Andy Haldane, listens from the audience at an event at the Bank of England in the City of London, London, Britain April 27, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Prime Minister Theresa May launched the strategy shortly after the 2016 Brexit vote as part of her pledge to help workers who have seen their earnings fall, when adjusted for inflation, since the global financial crisis.

Workers in Britain are about 20 percent less productive than their rivals in the United States, Germany and France and productivity has barely grown since the crisis, in contrast to growth of more than 2 percent a year before.

Haldane would chair the council in a personal capacity and did not represent a new role for the BoE, the government said.

Haldane has spoken previously about an unusually wide gap between Britain’s most and least productive firms, something he has linked to limited penetration of information technology, poor management and board members with little experience of how other companies operated.

Reporting by William Schomberg; editing by Costas Pitas

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