The Government needs to act in order to stop Britain slipping further down the Index of Economic Freedom

The latest edition of the Index of Economic Freedom has just been published, and for the second year in a row the UK has slipped down the rankings. Now with a score of only 74.5, two points less than last year, we sit five places lower on the table, in 16th place – below countries like Chile, the Netherlands and Estonia.

The Index is published by the Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal, in association with the Institute of Economic Affairs; this is its 17th edition. Due to many developing economies scoring higher than last year, the overall global average score this year increased very slightly by 0.3 points.

Last year the UK fell out of the top ten for the first time in the Index’s history; this year we have fallen an additional five places. These measures are always imperfect indicators, but nonetheless the direction of travel is a warning we can’t afford to ignore.

This survey is based on data from 2009, so it addresses developments under the last government. The question then is: to what extent has the Coalition helped to address these problems, and will we be ranked higher next year?

Unsurprisingly the UK does particularly badly when ranked on fiscal freedom and government spending. Under Labour, government spending ballooned out of control, then the recession damaged growth. Responding to the slump, Labour continued to spend, pushing us to the heady heights of our current levels of national debt.

Read the rest of the article on the ConservativeHome website.

Communications Director

Ruth Porter is Communications Director at the Institute of Economic Affairs. She has worked in public policy and communications for nearly a decade. During this time she has represented UK businesses working in areas including software, energy and electronics. She studied politics and philosophy at the University of Warwick before moving to New Zealand, where she worked for the independent think tank, Maxim Institute. Ruth worked on the research team looking at a wide range of issues from social policy to tax reform. She co-authored a series of reports on education that won the Innovative Projects category of the Sir Antony Fisher International Memorial Awards and edited the book Pursuing social justice in New Zealand, which was launched by New Zealand's Governor-General. She has written for various publications, including the Wall Street Journal and The Sunday Times, she also writes regularly for the Daily Telegraph website and is a frequent commentator in the British media on programmes such as Newsnight and Sky’s Boulton & Co.