The UK has just been named the best country for business in 2018

Courtney Goldsmith
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The UK topped the list for the first time, moving up from fifth place last year (Source: Getty)

Britain has been crowned the best country in the world for business in 2018 for the first time ever, even in the face of uncertainties around Brexit, according to Forbes' annual ranking.

The UK took the top spot out of 153 nations and jumped up from fifth place last year, scoring particularly well on technological readiness (fourth) and the size and education of its workforce (third).

The rankings were based on 15 different factors including property rights, innovation, taxes, technology, corruption, freedom (personal, trade and monetary), red tape and investor protection.

Britain snagged a spot in the top 25 countries of each metric except one: political risk, where it ranked 28th.

New Zealand took silver for the third year in a row, followed by the Netherlands, Sweden and Canada.

Read more: UK ranks top of major developed economies for establishing new businesses

Ranked: The 20 best countries for business
1. United Kingdom
2. New Zealand
3. Netherlands
4. Sweden
5. Canada
6. Hong Kong
7. Denmark
8. Ireland
9. Singapore
10. Switzerland
11. Australia
12. United States
13. Germany
14. Finland
15. Norway
16. Taiwan
17. Belgium
18. Austria
19. South Korea
20. Spain

The US came in at number 12, moving up from number 23 thanks to improvements in technological readiness, innovation and trade freedom.

On the flip side, Chad ranked last for the third straight year.

"Much uncertainty remains with the official exit from the EU scheduled for March 2019. Some UK companies are holding off on investments to see how Brexit effects trade relations, and growth is forecast to slow in 2018, but Britain’s business climate remains attractive," said Kurt Badenhausen of Forbes.

London's prized position as a global financial hub was "the best thing going for the UK", according to Jeff Lessard, a consultant at Cushman & Wakefield. "Post-Brexit, a few European cities have the opportunity to challenge London but each has deficiencies," he said.

Matthew De Luca, a strategic consultant with Cushman & Wakefield, added: "The single biggest issue Britain will face is the frictionless participation in their economy of highly educated global talent. Talent is the key that unlocks innovation, growth, and competitiveness."

For the first time this year, Forbes took out stock market performance as a measure and added in workforce, infrastructure, market size, quality of life and political risk.

Read more: London retains crown as top spot for attracting business and talent

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