HC Deb 22 July 1996 vol 282 c33W
Sir Irvine Patnick

To ask the President of the Board of Trade what assessment he has made of relative labour unit costs for each European Union country, the United States of America and Japan; and if he will make a statement. [38612]

Mr. John M. Taylor

The most comprehensive data which I have available is drawn from the Bank for International Settlements, and is shown on the table.

Country Manufacturing Unit Labour Costs in October 1993
United States of America 100.0
Japan 165.9
France 142.2
Germany 171.2
Italy 107.4
United Kingdom 126.3
Belgium 125.2
Netherlands 129.1
Sweden 106.0


Figures rebased so that USA=100. Figures above 100 show higher unit labour costs than the USA, e.g. Japan's unit labour costs are 65.9 per cent. higher than the US in October 1993.


'Measuring International Price and Cost Competitiveness' Turner and Van 't Dack. Bank for International Settlements, Economic Papers No. 39, November 1993.

The figures show that the UK's unit labour costs are relatively low. It is important that we maintain this good position. Companies and their employees have the crucial role of ensuring that we remain competitive.