THE UK finished a miserable 13th in the latest Prosperity Index, trailing behind even beleaguered Iceland and Ireland.
The Legatum Institute table was dominated by Scandinavian countries, with Norway, Denmark and Finland taking the top three slots. Sweden finished sixth in the poll, which measures wealth and prosperity, taking into account factors including health care, wealth, freedom and social capital.
The UK was buoyed by strong results in the entrepreneurship (ranked fifth), governance (ranked ninth) and social capital categories. However, of the 110 countries covered by the survey, it ranks a staggering 101st on public confidence in financial institutions, 98th on optimism about job prospects and 93rd on expectations of future economic performance – the kind of ratings usually found in the world’s poorest countries.
The Antipodean nations both ranked highly, with Australia in fourth place and New Zealand fifth. Zimbabwe finished bottom of the poll, with Pakistan in penultimate place after a year dominated by terrorist attacks and natural disasters.
The US clung to a top ten placing despite ranking poorly in the economy and safety categories. However, the poll seems to favour small countries, with the US the only superpower to make the top 10.
Former Labour business secretary Peter Mandelson defended Labour’s legacy, saying the data was collected at the onset of the financial crisis and was disproportionately gloomy.