This week’s news in brief

UK productivity growth stalls as US pushes ahead

Productivity growth in the UK has dipped as US output continues to outstrip the whole of Europe. Annual research by global business organisation, The Conference Board, found the UK productivity growth rate had slipped from 2.3% in 2004 to 0.9% in 2005. This leaves the UK as far behind France and Germany as it has been since 1997, and well behind the US on 1.8%.

Working breakfast is the next big thing

More than a quarter of UK workers are so short of time that they are now eating breakfast at their desks as well as missing out on their lunch break. A survey of more than 2,000 workers, by the Travelodge hotel chain, reveals that UK staff tuck into 161 breakfasts every year at the office – equating to more than two-thirds of all weekday breakfasts.

BMA angered by intervention over doctors’ pay

The British Medical Association (BMA) has demanded the government stays out of negotiations over doctors’ pay, after health secretary Patricia Hewitt wrote to the chair of the doctors and dentists pay review body at the end of 2005, recommending a pay rise of no more than 1%. The BMA described direct intervention by ministers as “unacceptable and incompatible with the review body system”.

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