National Productivity Week 27th January 2025 | Visit Website

A diverse community of
leading experts, policymakers
and practitioners

The Institute’s key research themes
are led by ten academic partners
spread across the UK.

We’re a UK-wide research
organisation exploring what
productivity means for business

Businesses are crucial to solving
the UK’s productivity problems.

RPF insights Midlands: local and national investment will help business post-pandemic

Our Regional Productivity Forum leads discussed how  focus on strategy and digital skills as well as more devolution were the keys to being successful in 2021 and beyond at our online business conference in June 2021.

Jonathan Duck is CEO of Amtico International and Chair of the Midlands Productivity Forum (RPF). He took part in the panel debate: What can UK companies do to thrive in the post-pandemic, post-Brexit era? 

He said: “You have to be internationally competitive. You are continually in a productivity race not just to survive but to keep growing,”

To compete on a larger scale, productivity levels in a business had to at least match or better overseas competitors, he noted, because many of them would have lower labour rates, lower power costs and lower land costs.

“There are huge opportunities in other countries like the US and Asia for businesses so there’s a lot of just copying some of the best practices,” he said.

Jonathan explained that the Midlands was almost a microcosm of the wider issue of productivity.

“We have very wide regional disparities,” he said. “We have a long tail of businesses with low productivity, so one of the activities for the regional forum is to highlight some of those in order to draw out the wider lessons for the UK.”

Drive Innovation

Conference poll: business priority

We then asked our audience in an online poll what the top priority for businesses was to thrive in a post pandemic UK. Drive innovation was the top answer followed closely by improving the skills of the workforce.

Jonathan added that personally he would have liked to see investment as one of the top answers.

He said investment comes in two flavours because it was investment in national infrastructure, particularly transport infrastructure, as well as investment in businesses.

He said the Midlands needed improved transport infrastructure to help the underlying course of productivity – for example better motorway and better public transport could lead to improved businesses across the region.

You can watch the full panel discussion here.