Economic freedom declining in the UK

Large fall in ratings for legal structures and property rights

The level of economic freedom in the United Kingdom is declining, according to the Economic Freedom of the World: 2008 Annual Report , released by the Fraser Institute in conjunction with the Institute of Economic Affairs.

Although the United Kingdom ranks 5th, the same as in last year’s report, the country’s overall score has dropped from 8.10 to 8.06. This reflects a large fall in the rating for ‘Legal structures and security of property rights’, essential components of a successful market economy. On a more positive note, the UK’s ratings improved on trade freedom and regulation.

The following are the UK’s scores in key components of economic freedom (from 1 to 10 where a higher value indicates a higher level of economic freedom):

• Size of government: declined from 6.66 to 6.64

• Legal structures and security of property rights: declined from 9.08 to 8.69

• Access to sound money: declined from 9.45 to 9.40

• Freedom to trade internationally: increased from 7.65 to 7.76

• Regulation of credit, labour and business: increased from 7.65 to 7.81

Hong Kong once again tops international rankings for economic freedom, with Singapore a close second and New Zealand in third spot.

Zimbabwe and Angola had the lowest economic freedom ratings of the 141 countries measured.

The annual peer-reviewed report uses 42 different measures to create an index ranking countries around the world based on policies that encourage economic freedom. The cornerstones of economic freedom are personal choice, voluntary exchange, freedom to compete and security of private property.

Research shows that individuals living in countries with high levels of economic freedom enjoy higher levels of prosperity, greater individual freedoms and longer life spans.

The full report is available at
www.freetheworld.com