§ Mr. Boswell
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the Institute452W of Personnel Development: Study No. 22, Impact of People Management Practices on Business Performance; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Mandelson
The need to improve the skills of the British work force is well-recognised and this forms a key theme of the Competitiveness White Paper which I am to publish shortly. This report is the first substantive piece of British research on how people management practices impact upon business performance in manufacturing industries. I welcome the report's findings that recent business performance was better where firms encouraged acquisition and development of employee skills, and where workers had more job autonomy—either individually or in teams.
My Department has jointly funded the 1998 Workplace Employee Relations Survey (WERS). Data from this will be used to do a similar type of analysis but it will be for a nationally representative set of British workplaces with 10 or more employees.