Policy and Brexit missteps threaten UK’s global business hub status

Political point scoring and a mishandled Brexit threaten to derail the UK’s upper hand as a globally competitive country, a status it has maintained despite heightened political uncertainty.

Even with the Brexit overhang, the “UK has one of the greatest economic opportunities of our time,” according to the findings of the 2017 Competitiveness Report.

The report, commissioned by Eight International, a global alliance of eight independent business advisory firms, found the UK topping many of its European neighbours in key areas that determine global competitiveness.

For one, it has a low unemployment rate of 5% and is one of the top 10 countries in terms of positive and happy workforce, two crucial ingredients required to remain competitive on the global stage.

The UK also outperforms most other nations on social progress considerations, including Germany, France and the United States.

And in terms of countries with the greatest number of innovative companies, the UK came fourth in 2016 in the Forbes index, behind the United States, Japan and China.

By the Global Competitiveness Index metrics, which look at factors like infrastructure, macroeconomic environment, higher education, the labour market, tech and financial market development, the UK ranked six out of 138 countries.

In 2011 to 2012, it ranked seventh for global competitiveness.

“Until 2016, the UK was regarded as a politically stable and profitable environment,” said author of the report and Eight Advisory partner, Alexis Karklins-Marchay.

“This changed on 23 June 2016 with the outcome of the EU Referendum and has now been exacerbated by the recent General Election result.

“Policy-makers should take the lead on continuing to fight inequality, enhance workforce productivity and improve infrastructure across the country. These steps will help the UK economy as competitiveness is multifactorial.”

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