Imports reliance 'hinders recovery'

The UK's prospects for economic recovery are being held back by an over-reliance on imported goods, according to a new report.

The country has failed to adapt to changes in consumer tastes over the past 10 years, said the Big Innovation Centre.

A study found that spending on electronic products increased eight-fold since 1997, while twice as much is spent on clothing, but the UK is weak and reliant on imports in both these areas, said the report.

Spencer Thompson, the report's author, said: "The UK is weakest in many of the fastest growing, innovative consumer markets, leading to serious imbalances in trade and dampening economic growth.

"We need to get much better at making the things that people want to buy, or we will continue storing up economic problems for the future.

"There is no point in trying to reverse this trend in already established markets. Instead, we need to focus on getting ahead in the fast-growing areas of tomorrow, and be quick to adopt breakthrough technologies."

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