Study says UK is second most socially developed in world

Ben Southwood
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THE UK is the world’s second most socially developed country, according to research from Harvard Business School and the Social Progress Imperative, released this morning.

The UK’s second placing came despite having the lowest GDP per capita, measured at purchasing power parity, of the top five, and was down to scoring strongly on basic human needs, social infrastructure and opportunity.

In first was Sweden, with a social progress index of 64.81, followed by the UK, then Switzerland, Canada and Germany. The US, Australia, Japan, France and crisis-hit Spain rounded off the top ten.

But Institute of Economic Affairs director-general Mark Littlewood warned that the index “should be treated with scepticism”.

“It is odd that the UK places ninth in affordable housing despite its restrictive planning system, which results in disproportionately high property prices,” he said.

The so-called Social Progress Index, as the list is known, has been two years in the making and came from an original idea proposed by the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council.