Since 1980, UK industry and the country's space economy have both arguably undergone radical restructuring. This restructuring has involved considerable rationalisation and closure of existing factories, widespread adoption of new production technologies and work practices, significant growth in numbers of new and small firms, and substantial inward investment by foreign multinationals (Keeble, 1987). High technology industry, as defined below in terms of especially rapid technological innovation in products and associated above-average research and development intensity, appears to have played an important role in this restructuring, along with the effects of the acute early 1980s recession and intensifying global competition. Indeed, some observers argue that Britain and other western capitalist countries have since the 1970s been experiencing a technolOgical revolution, based particularly on microelectronics, computers and new information technology, which may herald a new fifth Kondratief long wave of innovation-related economic growth (Freeman, 1986; Aydalot and Keeble, 1988; Hall and Preston, 1988). For the UK, however, a major concern must be that the greatest positive impacts of any such technological revolution appear to be benefiting selected regions of the USA and Japan, rather than of Europe. Thus substantial high technology employment growth in the former two countries contrasts with decline in the UK (Hall, 1987).
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