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Daily Mail: Britain defies dire warnings about Brexit to come TOP in Forbes ranking of best countries to do business

Date: 21 12 2017

Britain defies dire warnings about Brexit to come TOP in Forbes ranking of best countries to do business

  • The UK has topped Forbes ranking of the best countries in which to do business
  • Britain moved up from fifth to first and was praised for workers and technology
  • Study pointed to host of big firms committing to the UK since the referendum 

Britain has been crowned the world’s best country in which to do business in a major vote of confidence ahead of Brexit.

It is the first time this country has taken the top spot in the Forbes annual survey after rising from fifth last year.

The UK scored well on technology plus the size and education of the workforce although ‘political risk’ was seen as the weakest point.

The US was ranked 12th, Germany 13th and France 22nd in the table of Best Countries for Business.

 

Coming days after the pro-Brussels CBI said manufacturing order books were at a 30-year high, the report was seen as further proof Britain can prosper outside the EU.

Brexit supporter John Longworth, former head of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: ‘This week the CBI reported manufacturing order books at a 30-year high and now Forbes are saying we are the best country in which to do business. This confounds the naysayers at the IMF, Bank of England and Treasury and shows the future is bright for Brexit Britain.’

The Forbes report ranking 153 countries said Britain had brushed off siren warnings of economic collapse in the wake of the Brexit vote with unemployment falling to a 42-year low and has an ‘attractive’ business climate.

It added: ‘After the UK narrowly voted last year to leave the EU, predictions swirled that the British economy would collapse.

‘Yes, the pound plummeted 9 per cent versus the dollar the day after the surprise result and remains down, but the economy as a whole has held up relatively well.

‘Gross domestic product grew 1.8 per cent in 2016, a tick behind only Germany’s 1.9 per cent in the Group of Seven industrialized nations.

‘Economic growth has continued in 2017, home prices are up and unemployment has sunk to a 42-year low at 4.3 per cent.’

The 12th annual survey went on: ‘Much uncertainty remains with the official exit from the EU scheduled for March 2019. Some UK companies are holding off on investments to see how Brexit affects trade relations and growth is forecasted to slow in 2018 but Britain’s business climate remains attractive.’

Brexit supporter and former Labour MP Gisela Stuart, chairman of the Change Britain campaign, said: ‘This is a clear vote of confidence in the UK economy, defying Project Fear and those who continue to talk this country down.

‘Companies large and small invest in Britain because we are an open and innovative economy, able to raise capital, supported by a strong legal system. These are all qualities which we will be able to harness even more after we have left the EU.’

Rankings were based on 15 measures, including property rights, innovation, tax rates, technology, corruption, freedom, red tape and investor protection.

Forbes noted that major companies such as Apple and US bank Wells Fargo have ramped up investment in Britain since the Brexit vote.

Wells Fargo spent £300million buying a new European headquarters in London while Apple plans to open a new campus in the capital in 2021.

Facebook is also in the market for a site for 9,000 staff, Forbes noted.

Jeff Lessard, a property consultant at Cushman & Wakefield, said: ‘These commitments signal a belief across industries in the long-term strength of the UK economy.

‘The best thing going for the UK is that London is one of three global hubs for financial services. A few European cities have the opportunity to challenge London but each has deficiencies.’  

December 21st, 2017: Daily Mail