I Introduction

This is the fifth edition of Regional Competitiveness and State of the Regions, formed by the amalgamation of two separate publications: the Regional Competitiveness Indicators and the Regional Development Agency (RDA) ‘State of the Region’ Core Indicators.

At the same time as combining these two publications a number of changes were introduced. Consultants (SQW Ltd and Oxford Economic Forecasting) recommended 11 core indicators for RDA Evaluation and Performance Monitoring. Those incorporated in the combined indicator set (with their table numbers) are:

Gross Value Added (on a workplace basis) per head of population 1(a)(ii)
Manufacturing GVA per head 2
Business formations per 10,000 adults 12(b)(i)
Unemployment rate (ILO definition) 7
Percentage of adults with NVQ level 4 skills/equivalent 9(b)(i)
Percentage of adults with no qualifications 9(b)(iv)
Percentage of residents within families dependent on Income Support benefits 11
Road congestion 15(c)
Stock of derelict land 17

Recommended for inclusion but not incorporated in this set are:

Waste – volume of non-recycled waste
Wildlife – population of birds

Information on waste indicators is available on the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) website


and bird population statistics are available from the Sustainable Development Unit’s website


Statistics which previously appeared in the State of the Region Core Indicators, but which do not appear in the combined set (either because they were not recommended by SQW for inclusion, or were not already part of the Regional Competitiveness Indicators) are:

Proportion of the population with above average living conditions
Percentage of dwellings built on previously developed land
Percentage of Employers with Current Hard to Fill Vacancies
Percentage of Employees undertaking work-related training in the last 13 weeks
Percentage of Medium/Large Organisations recognised as Investors in People (see below)

Following a consultation exercise carried out during winter 2001/2002 further small changes were made. The most significant change was dropping figures for Investors in People (IIP), which were reported to be among those least used. Statistics on regional recognitions for IIP can be found at www.iipuk.co.uk

For sub-regional information, the Business Competitiveness Indicators can be accessed via the DTI website (www.dtistats.net/sd/bci). These break down a selection of the statistics contained in this publication to Learning and Skills Council Areas, Nomenclature of Units for Territorial Statistics level 3 (NUTS3), or Local Authority/Unitary Authority level, depending on the availability of data.
A further consultation on productivity indicators at the national and regional level outlined a revised set of 12 indicators based on the five key drivers of productivity, in relation to the Regional Economic Performance Public Service Agreement (REP PSA) target, responsibility for which is held jointly by DTI, HMT and DCLG. Those incorporated in the combined indicator set (by relevant driver and with table number) are:

Productivity Gross Value Added (GVA) per head and per hour 1(a)(ii)
Investment Business investment as a per cent of GVA 3(c)(iv)
Innovation Business Enterprise Research & Development as a per cent of GVA 14(a)
  Gross Domestic Expenditure on Research & Development as per cent of GVA 14(c)
  Proportion of enterprises with co-operation arrangements on technological innovation activities with other enterprises or institutions 14(d)
  Proportion of turnover accounted for by new or improved products 14(e)
Skills Highest qualifications of adults 9(b)
  16 to 19 year olds qualified to NVQ Level 2 and 19 to 21 year olds qualified to NVQ level 2 and 3 9(a)
  Proportion of employees receiving training in last 4 weeks 9(c)
Enterprise Total entrepreneurial activity 13
  Business start-ups (VAT registrations) per 10,000 adult population 12(b)(i)
Competition Exports as a per cent of GVA 4(a)(ii)

These indicators will also be available at

Further comments on the content and layout of Regional Competitiveness and State of the Regions are welcome and should be sent to Mukund Lad, at the address given on the first page of this report.

II Aims

The aim of the Regional Competitiveness Indicators was to present statistical information that illustrated the factors that contributed to regional competitiveness. They were not intended to measure the performance of the Government Offices or the devolved administrations, but were designed to assist those responsible for developing regional economic strategies. The ‘State of the Region’ Core Indicators (as developed by SQW) were originally designed to measure progress towards sustainable economic development, skills and social regeneration and to provide monitoring and evaluation guidance for the RDAs.
There are 17 indicators in this publication, intended to give a balanced picture of all the statistical information relevant to regional competitiveness and the state of the regions.
The DTI also publishes UK Productivity and Competitiveness Indicators. These are designed to compare our economic performance with that of other advanced economies and to measure the UK’s progress in meeting the challenges of raising productivity. They are used in the DTI to inform policy analysis including policies aimed at meeting the joint HM Treasury and DTI target of reducing the productivity gap. The latest edition can be found at:


III General Comments

Where data are available on a consistent basis they are presented for Government Office Regions and for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. For ease of expression, the term ‘region’ is sometimes used in the text to refer both to Government Office Regions and to the devolved administrations.
Each of the indicators is described in turn, including explanations as to how it is compiled and what it measures. The tables relating to each indicator can be found in Annex 3. Technical and methodological issues associated with the indicators are described in Definitions (Annex 1).