View from City Road: Whitehall could do better

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The Independent Online
There is always a sneaking suspicion that the reason Whitehall is so keen on secrecy is that it is worried its work would not stand up to serious analysis. Certainly, the Department of Trade and Industry's memorandum on competitiveness is disappointing. It would be reassuring to think that its problems were caused by censorship. Unfortunately, the evidence suggests otherwise.

The DTI paper for its Commons select commitee rounds up useful information about the British record on research and development (poor), education (lamentable), management skills (not sure), and rates of return on investment (still too low).

But it also commits GCSE economics howlers: surely GDP per head is not so much a measure of competitiveness as of activity or living standards. Moreover, the pupil oddly fails to mention the level of the pound (either in nominal or real terms), which might have a little bearing on competitiveness. All in all, gamma minus. Must try harder.

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