Most productivity statistics can’t be accurate.”
That’s according to the Lord Mayor of the City of London who is an ambassador for the UK’s financial and professional services industry.
On a trip to Sheffield, Alan Yarrow said it was very difficult to measure the productivity of lawyers, accountants and insurers. And he was sceptical about reports that France was more productive than the UK.
He added: “My gut feeling when I see that France is supposed to more productive than us - when they’re always on strike and only work a 35-hour week - is that productivity statistics don’t make sense.”
His comments come after minister Jo Johnson claimed productivity in Sheffield City Region - a manufacturing region - was less than half that of London, a global financial centre.
The Government has also launched a productivity plan to narrow the gap with international rivals. Matching the productivity of the US would raise GDP by 31 per cent, equating to around £21,000 per annum for every household in the UK, it claims.
Alan Yarrow is the 687th Lord Mayor of the City of London. His term in office ends in November.
He added: “I think the most important thing for 99.9 per cent of small and medium businesses is cash flow. Big companies have got to learn they have to pay their invoices on time. If they don’t it can be terminal.
“The Government doesn’t seem to want to legislate and new laws can cause more problems than they solve.
“In a tight-knit community like Sheffield it can be addressed by the fear of being shamed.
“If you start getting a bad name it doesn’t do your business any good.”
As Lord Mayor he has visited 22 countries and “every single one has said nothing but good things about the UK,” he added.
“We don’t see it, but people are so envious of our rule of law, our law of contract - when you buy something you own it - our independent judiciary.
“When you step outside the country people have to put up with very difficult situations.
“We have certainties in business and quick resolutions which minimise the time for corruption to creep in.
“In India, it takes 10 years to sue, which does no-one any good.”