Letter: Paying for a high growth rate

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Sir: Since we are talking about a comparison of two averages (1960- 73 and 1974-95), one plausible explanation for Britain's relatively improved position is that in the first period we were so truly awful that, in a sense, we got our retaliation in first.

It is clear that Germany and other Western European states are making strenuous efforts to address the problems Paul Ormerod notes. With their considerable underlying strengths (not least in education and infrastructure) it would be surprising if they did not pull off the trick and once again put clear water between themselves and the UK.