I Introduction

The indicators in this booklet have been developed by the Department of Trade and Industry in consultation with the Office for National Statistics and other Government Departments.

The aim of the Regional Competitiveness Indicators is to present statistical information, which illustrates the factors that contribute to regional competitiveness.

The Regional Competitiveness Indicators are not intended to measure the performance of Government Offices or the devolved administrations, but are designed to assist those responsible for developing regional economic strategies as well as those who have an interest in promoting competitiveness, including the Regional Development Agencies in English regions.

The DTI also published the second edition of UK Competitiveness Indicators in February 2001, which present a set of indicators designed to measure the UKs progress in the knowledge driven economy. The Competitiveness Indicators look at the overall national picture and complement the regional analyses presented here.

The statistics are generally presented for English Regions and the devolved administrations of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. For ease of expression, however, the term 'regions' is sometimes used in the text to refer both to Government Office Regions and to the devolved administrations.

II General Comments

Regional competitiveness describes the ability of regions to generate income and maintain employment levels in the face of domestic and international competition. It involves presenting data on a range of economic and social indicators for the regions and countries of the UK.

The 14 indicators included are intended to give a balanced picture of all the statistical information relevant to regional competitiveness.

In some cases the choice of indicator has been constrained by data availability at regional level.

This booklet is divided into five sections: overall competitiveness, the labour market, education & training, capital, and land & infrastructure.

Each indicator is described in turn, including explanations as to how it has been compiled and what it measures. The tables relating to each indicator can be found at the back of the booklet.

The technical and methodological issues associated with the indicators are described in the definitions section.

III Review of the Regional Competitiveness Indicators

From time to time the content of the Regional Competitiveness Indicators is reviewed. In this edition, in response to known requirements, we have included, for the first time, Gross Value Added (GVA) per hour worked, GVA per person employed in both manufacturing and services, and Research and Development as a proportion of total GVA.

Also, starting with this edition, information will no longer be provided separately in the indicator tables or charts for Merseyside. (Since 1998, this area has been included within the North West Government Office Region.)

We propose to review the contents of the Regional Competitiveness Indicators more fully in the coming months, to find out, for example:

Which indicators customers find most useful.

Which indicators customers do not use.

Any suggestions customers have for changes to the way the indicators are presented.

Any additions to the indicators customers would like to suggest.

The formal review will consist of direct approaches to a sample of known users, using a written questionnaire, probably to be followed up by a series of meetings with selected respondents to discuss the RCIs.

In the meantime, users who have comments on the RCIs, or would like to be included in the formal review, should write to or email Philip White at the addresses given on the previous page.

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