The UK is in the Top 10 Countries in the Economic Freedom of the World Report

The UK is Back in the Top 10 in the Economic Freedom of the World Report Rankings

The United Kingdom has seen its position improve in the latest Economic Freedom of the World Report, which correlates with greater prosperity, more civil liberties, and longer lives. The country has jumped from 16th to ninth place, overtaking countries such as Japan and Canada. However, although the UK is back in the top ten, it remains below its all-time high position of 6th, achieved in the early 2000s.

In a time when many people in Britain, whether rightly or wrongly, are feeling that their civil liberties are slowly being eroded, it will undoubtedly come as a surprise to many that the UK has significantly improved its position in the Economic Freedom of the World Report ranking, which is an index produced by the Fraser Institute and co-published today with the free market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs.

The report has revealed that the UK’s economic freedom puts it ahead of countries such as Japan, Canada, and the Czech Republic. However, the UK’s overall economic freedom is in decline compared to pre-pandemic. In 2021, the UK scored 8.01 out of 10 on the economic freedom indicator, compared to 8.20 in 2019 and 8.65 in 2000.

The report finds that Britain’s business, labour market and financial regulations are becoming increasingly burdensome. With taxes and spending approaching a post-war high, the UK’s score on the size of government has also fallen since 2019.

If the UK scored as highly as it did before COVID-19, it would have placed fifth on the latest ranking, above countries like the United States, Ireland, and Australia.

Across the globe, Hong Kong has lost its place as the freest economy in the world for the first time. This results from declining scores on international trade, the rule of law, and the size of government since Chinese intervention in the region increased towards the end of the 2010s.

A young woman on an escalator in a shopping mall

The number one spot is now occupied by Singapore, followed by Hong Kong, Switzerland, New Zealand, the United States, Ireland, Denmark, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Canada. Venezuela once again ranks last. Some despotic countries, such as North Korea and Cuba, can’t be ranked due to a lack of data.

Alexander Hammond, IEA Free Trade Fellow and author of chapter five of the report, said, “While it is excellent news that the UK climbed the rankings by seven places between 2020 and 2021, much of this increase can be attributed to Britain easing its COVID restrictions sooner than many of its counterparts. The UK’s overall economic score remains below its 2019 level and significantly behind the all-time highs we achieved in the early 2000s.

“Perhaps most alarming is that the UK’s score in ‘Size of Government’ and ‘Regulation’ has declined significantly since 2019. This indicates that an independent British state, free from Brussels’ oversight, has become larger and more bureaucratic.”

Matthew Mitchel, Fraser Institute Senior Fellow, said, Hong Kong’s recent turn is an example of how economic freedom is intimately connected with civil and political freedom. The Chinese government’s aim was to crack down on political and civil dissent. These repressions, combined with the government’s efforts to control the private sector, inevitably led to diminished economic freedom. Hong Kong’s prosperity will likely suffer as a result.”

Fred McMahon, Fraser Institute Resident Fellow, added, “Where people are free to pursue their own opportunities and make their own choices, they lead more prosperous, happier and healthier lives.”

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The UK is in the Top 10 Countries in the Economic Freedom of the World Report 2

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