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UK drops places in WEF survey


The UK has dropped two places in a survey from the World Economic Forum (WEF) intended to highlight the best parts of the world for doing business, suggesting that its finance sector has not quite regained the heights of the pre-crash period.

It fell from eight to tenth, as Japan and Hong Kong leapfrogged up the table and highlighted the strength or Asia's burgeoning economies.

According to the WEF, the biggest factor in the UK's decline was a lack of access to finance, a situation that has worsened since the organisation made its report last year (when Britain finished in eighth place).

However, its overall competitive rating stayed stable at 5.4 out of seven, with an improvement in tax rates, regulations and innovative business practices offset by the difficult many firms experience when applying for loans. The UK's macroeconomic rating also tumbled to 115 from its previous placing of 110.

Switzerland once again topped the rankings, having taken top spot for the last five years running, and was followed by nations such as Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands. The struggling southern European countries such as Spain are still in relative bad shape in terms of business growth, the WEF explained.

"Innovation becomes even more critical in terms of an economy's ability to foster future prosperity," said founder and chairman of the organisation Klaus Schwab, adding that he expects the gap between 'developed' and 'less-developed' nations to almost completely disappear in the coming years.

"It is therefore vital that leaders from business, government and civil society work collaboratively to create education systems and enable environments which foster innovation," he added.

With areas such as the Middle East and Africa booming, it appears that there could be a great deal of corporate finance work created abroad over the next few years, especially as UK-based firms look to expand their sphere of influence across the globe.

South America could also be a growth economy in the future, according to the WEF report.

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