THE UK dropped four places in worldwide rankings of economic freedom, falling out of the top ten for the first time since the early 1980s, a Canadian think-tank said yesterday.
The UK dropped from eighth to 12th – leapfrogged by Ireland, the United Arab Emirates, Finland and Mauritius, according to the Fraser Institute.
The United States also departed the top 10, continuing a decline that began around the turn of the millennium as it fell to 18th.
The index measures the degree to which the policies and institutions of countries are supportive of economic freedom.
The British decline was driven by a rapidly growing government, and increased restrictions on international trade, while the regulation situation improved somewhat.
The top six was dominated by former British colonies – city states Hong Kong and Singapore led the pack in first and second – followed by New Zealand in third, Australia in fifth and Canada in sixth.
Switzerland placed fourth, while Arab Island state Bahrain took seventh, and Indian Ocean island chain Mauritius was in eighth.
Finland was ninth while Chile took tenth place.