UK to lose top economy rank

THE UK is set to slide out of the world&rsquo;s top 10 economies by 2015, according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).<br /><br />Although the International Monetary Fund and World Bank both ranked the UK sixth in 2008 based on GDP, the CEBR reports that this year the country fell behind Italy to seventh place. The UK was already behind the United States, Japan, China, Germany and France.<br /><br />The CEBR predicts this slide will continue, and that slow growth and a weak pound will see Britain drop out of the top 10 by 2015. The country could then find itself behind Russia, Brazil, Spain, Canada and India, just above Mexico, Australia and South Korea.<br /><br />It would mark a dramatic fall for an economy which was ranked fourth largest in the world as recently as 2005, and CEBR chief executive Doug McWilliams has warned that economic changes could also affect the UK&rsquo;s political clout and reduce the country&rsquo;s international influence.<br /><br />Last week McWilliams said that although a strong fourth quarter looked likely, so does a weak first quarter in 2010, which will be worsened by VAT returning to 17.5 per cent on January 1.<br /><br />However chancellor Alistair Darling is expected to say this week that Britain is ready to emerge from the recession and enjoy strong growth from 2011.