UK named world's fifth biggest economy thanks to sex and drugs boost

Joe Hall
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Christmas cheer? The UK has been named the world's fifth biggest economy. (Source: Getty)

The UK has overtaken France as the world’s fifth biggest economy - and we have drugs and prostitution to thank for it.

The Centre for Economic and Business Research (Cebr) has put together its league table for 2014, and has placed the UK narrowly above France in its rankings, with an economy worth $2.828 trillion (£1.818 trillion), compared with France's $2.827 trillion.

This is largely because since 2013, the UK’s GDP figures have been amended to include earnings from drugs and prostitution, unlike France. Cebr also adds in its report that the gap is so close, it is well within the margin for error.

According to statistics from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), drugs are worth £4.4bn to the UK economy every year, while prostitution is worth around £5.37bn. When first added to figures in June this year, GDP jumped five per cent.

The US is still the world’s largest economy with a 2014 GDP of $17,528, however Cebr forecast China to take the top spot in 2025 - three years earlier than last year’s prediction.

Despite this year’s climb, the UK is also likely to slip down the rankings in the coming years thanks to the “unstoppable” rise of India, which is now estimated to be the world’s ninth biggest economy. Cebr predicts it will overtake the UK by 2018 and will become the world’s third largest economy by 2024.

The research also added that by 2030, the UK is likely to overtake Germany for the first time since 1954.

Asian economies such as China may have seen slower growth in 2014 than in previous years, but Cebr still sees them catching up with their European counterparts.

South Korea rose seven places from 15th to eighth as Russia fell two positions, due to a weakening rouble and falling oil prices.

Douglas McWilliams, Cebr’s chief executive, said:

The world economic league table also shows the dramatic changes now taking place in the world’s economic geography, with slow-growing European economies falling back and Asian economies, even though their growth is slowing, catching up.

(Source: Cebr)

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