UK's global competitiveness increases

The UK’s global competitiveness is rising, according to the latest report from the World Economic Forum, which shows that the country now sits in eighth place.


Each year, the Switzerland-based forum ranks each country based on a number of criteria, including the state of its infrastructure, the effectiveness of its health systems and the quality of its schools, as well as the nation’s business prospects.


I was not surprised to see that Switzerland – the country where the report is produced – was in first place, while Singapore (a popular tax haven for City workers) and Finland are second and third, respectively.


It is reassuring, however, to see that the UK has risen from tenth in the 2011 index to eighth in the latest one, suggesting that significant progress is being made.


According to the WEF, the UK is now “settled firmly” in the top ten, with its progress attributed to the country’s flexible labour market, which it says contrasts sharply with the “rigidity” of other nations.


Some time ago I observed that the simplification of the nation’s tax system would help to boost future prospects and all-round competitiveness, and this is a view shared by the Treasury, which welcomes the report.


“The UK is becoming more competitive thanks to this government’s reforms – creating a more flexible and educated workforce; simplifying our tax system, and reducing the main rate of corporation tax as well as scrapping burdensome regulation and simplifying planning rules,” it added.


The key now is to maintain this progress, though toppling Switzerland will be far from easy.