The performance of the United Kingdom economy has been the subject of much critical comment in recent years. Of course, economic achievement can be viewed from many different perspectives, giving rise to conflicting interpretations of national progress. Furthermore, it is axiomatic that global indicators camouflage a spectrum of experience spanning all degrees of success and failure. Yet, on balance, the censures would appear to be justified. Focusing on gross domestic product (at constant factor cost), for example, the data show that the average increase of 3.23 per cent per annum achieved during the 1960s fell to 2.25 percent in the 1970s and that in the 1980s to date annual growth has averaged only 0.53 per cent. The figures reveal a yet more disturbing state of affairs if the revenues flowing from the nation’s North Sea oil reserves are discounted. Thus between 1976 and 1983 growth in gross domestic product averaged 1.5 per cent per annum. Without the benefit of oil an annual improvement of just 0.7 per cent would have been experienced.