After a raft of business-boosting initiatives the UK is making some headway on a number of fronts.
We all hear often enough that the government would like to make the UK an easier place to do business.
It’s talked of initiatives such as lowering corporation tax, cutting bureaucratic red tape and making access to finance for SMEs easier.
Today brings with it news that David Cameron is planning to relax planning rules which will, in essence, allow businesses to expand premises by 100 square metres, and industrial units by 200 square metres, without full planning approval.
Now it seems that the coalition governments’ plans are beginning to bear some fruit.
The latest Global Competitiveness Index from the World Economic Forum (WEP) shows that the UK has risen two places to eighth, climbing above Denmark and Japan.
Particular areas for celebration include the quality of management schools in the UK and our financial markets’ legal rights which both placed first in the study. Another shining light is the quality of UK scientific institutions which rank third globally.
The WEP cites the efficiency of the UK’s labour market as a strength, and compares it to the rigidity of many other European countries. It also believes that the UK continues to have sophisticated and innovative businesses that are highly adept at harnessing the latest technologies for productivity improvements and operating in a very large market.
However, there are still some causes for concern. If ranked purely on the burden of our government regulation, we would finish in 72nd place, while a similar ranking based on the soundness of our banking institutions would see the UK end up in 97th place.
The UK’s macroeconomic environment has worsened by 0.5 points, according to WEP’s research, and we now have the fifth worst budgetary situation in the world.
Two years of Conservative and Liberal Democrat ruling has seen some positive steps towards easing the task of doing business but the government must not get carried away with its climb in the competitiveness ranking, there is still a lot of work to do.