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High-tech manufacturing competitiveness shows improvement in UK skills

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The UK leads the G7 in our share of high-tech manufacturing exports, according to the latest set of UK Competitiveness Indicators, released this week by the DTI. The Competitiveness Indicators monitor the UK's progress in driving up productivity and competitiveness. They benchmark UK's position against major international competitors in terms of innovation, skills, enterprise, investment and competition. They are assessed annually and are used within Government to inform policy and identify areas for further action.

According to the DTI, the latest set of Competitiveness Indicators show that:
- Knowledge based industries such as aerospace, pharmaceuticals and telecoms were responsible for 54% of output - higher than Italy, Canada and the US, and similar to France and Japan. And the UK has a higher share of knowledge based exports than any other country in the
G7
- The UK science base is both highly productive and of high quality, and foreign firms increasingly want access to it. (The share of UK R&D accounted for by foreign affiliates is one of the highest in the OECD)
- UK growth in GDP per head is second only to the US and faster than France and Germany over the most recent economic cycle
- UK has the highest level of venture capital investment as a percentage of GDP in the EU
- The UK has the largest percentage of business connected to digital networks in the G7 - overtaking the US and Canada from last year
- Progress has been made in improving skills.

However, the indicators show that there are still areas for improvement:
- The productivity gap remains;
- UK workers are relatively less skilled than their European
counterparts
- UK firms remain poor at innovation compared to some international competitors
- Our culture is less entrepreneurial and risk-taking
- We invest less in the future than our competitors, both in terms of R&D and physical investment.

Ms Hewitt added: "We are taking action as a Government to make the curriculum more relevant to today's workplace. I challenge companies to improve the training and development opportunities for their managers too."

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