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European Law Monitor newsUK needs to increase housing supply and improve skills in the job market  

The Commission has published its assessment on the National Reform Programmes in relation to growth and jobs (also known as the Lisbon Strategy), and in relation to the UK has made the following observations. The full report, which lists each country, and details how they have met the Lisbon objectives for the 2005-2007 period may be found by clicking here

United Kingdom

1. In the light of the UK´s 2007 Implementation Report and the Commission's assessment of progress made in implementing key structural reforms and based on the Integrated Guidelines for Growth and Jobs, the following conclusions are appropriate:

2. The UK has made significant progress in implementing its National Reform Programme over 2005-2007. The UK has shown good progress in fulfilling the commitments agreed by the 2006 Spring European Council in the four priority action areas.

3. The Implementation Report shows a good policy response to the recommendation issued by the Council. There has also been a good policy response on the additional areas identified in the Council conclusions as requiring attention.

4. Among the strengths shown by the 2007 UK Implementation Report are: the plans to provide an integrated approach to employment and skills, moves towards the creation of a business-friendly regulatory environment, and the forward-looking plans on energy policy.

5. The policy areas in the UK National Reform Programme where challenges need to be tackled with the highest priority are improving skills levels to increase productivity and reduce disadvantage in the labour market. Against this background it is recommended that the UK:

       * implement recent plans to substantially improve skill-levels and establish an integrated approach to employment and skills in order to improve productivity and increase opportunities for the disadvantaged.

6. In addition, it will be important for the UK to focus on the following challenges for the future: progressively increase housing supply in order to meet medium term demand pressures; ensure progress towards the UK´s R&D intensity target through full implementation of the recent review of R&D and innovation policy, particularly taking fuller account of the specific needs of the services sector.

Note: Despite a slight rephrasing, the number of country specific recommendations (1) has stayed the same as in last year's assessment. The number of points to watch (2) has decreased compared to last year's assessment (4). The points to watch on access to childcare and pension reform have been removed.