UK loses out in competitive league tables

Julian Harris
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BRITAIN’S international competitiveness has plummeted since 1997, a Westminster think-tank will claim today.

The UK has dropped out of the top 10 countries for business conditions in three leading international comparisons, the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) states in a new report.

As well as reducing the government’s mammoth annual deficit, the coalition must “open up public services to competitive pressures, deregulate enterprise and lower the tax burden,” said acting director Tim Knox of the CPS.

“Our fall down the league tables shows that these are steps we cannot afford not to take.”

The UK has tumbled from 9th to 22nd in the world competitiveness yearbook, published by the Institute for Management Development; from 7th to 12th in the World Economic Forum’s global competitiveness report; and from 5th to 16th in an index of economic freedoms compiled by the Heritage Foundation, a think-tank in Washington DC.

Government, not business, is to blame for the poor performance, the CPS will argue.

While the UK benefits from “the efficiency of its labour market” and a strong take-up of new technologies by “sophisticated and innovative businesses,” it ranks poorly in areas such as wasteful government spending and the burden of regulation.

“Over the past 14 years, our competitiveness has been undermined by excessive regulation, high taxes and mismanagement of government finances,” Knox added.

● 12th (out of 139) in the World Economic Forum’s global competitiveness survey.

● 22nd (out of 59) in the competitiveness yearbook (Institute of Management Development)

● 16th (of 183) by the Heritage Foundation.