UK makes gains yet budget crises blight competitiveness

 
Tim Wallace
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BRITAIN’S economy is now the tenth most competitive in the world, according to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) rankings released yesterday.

That position is two places above last year’s place, helped by high levels of labour market efficiency, business sophistication and – perhaps surprisingly – infrastructure quality.

George Osborne still has his work cut out for him, though, as the “fiscal deficit must be reined in to provide a more sustainable economic footing,” said the report.

The US slipped down the rankings for the third year running, its slide to fifth place caused by deterioration in its macroeconomic environment. “Political wrangling” and concerns over “the sustainability of public debt” are key factors highlighted.

Switzerland held pole position for the third year in a row, topping the rankings in categories like innovation and technological readiness.

Europe’s nations spread right across the table, though. Italy comes in at number 47, with poorly developed financial markets. Unsurprisingly, Greece rounded off the EU’s showing in 90th place, suffering both financially and in terms of weak public institutions. There is cause for hope, though – the WEF found a well educated workforce open to new technologies.