This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Index of Economic Freedom. With its user friendly format and straight-forward analysis, readers can track up to two decades of advancement in economic freedom, prosperity, and opportunity.
The Index covers 10 freedoms – from property rights to entrepreneurship – in 186 countries.
The United Kingdom’s economic freedom score is 74.9, making its economy the 14th freest in the 2014 Index. Its score is essentially the same as last year, with modest improvements in government spending, labor freedom, monetary freedom, and trade freedom offset by deteriorations in business freedom, freedom from corruption, and fiscal freedom. The U.K. is ranked 5th out of 43 countries in the Europe region.
Over the 20-year history of the Index, the U.K.’s economic freedom has declined by 3 points, the second worst performance among advanced economies. Despite notable improvements in trade freedom and investment freedom, the overall gain has been offset by combined declines in the management of public finance and regulatory efficiency.
Britain’s economy has been consistently rated one of the world’s 20 freest. However, since 2006, when it reached its highest economic freedom score ever, the U.K. has been largely on a path of declining economic freedom. Expansionary public spending has generated significant budgetary pressure. With government debt over 90 percent of the size of the economy, underlying economic fundamentals generally remain weak.
For the full index, go to the Heritage Foundation.
Published by the Heritage Foundation in association with the IEA, 2014