While the UK has moved above the US in the Doing Business study analysing ease of doing business globally, it still sits behind the likes of Singapore, New Zealand and Denmark.
Data from the last 12 years is used to determine where in the world enterprise is easiest, tracking regulatory and bureaucratic systems of nations.
The report found that 85 developing economies implemented 169 business reforms during the last 12 months, up from 154 reforms during the preceding year. Meanwhile, high-income economies were responsible for 62 reforms, meaning the total for the last year was 231 from 122 economies globally.
Doing Business, which is part of the World Bank, concluded that the majority of new reforms were brought in to improve the efficiency of regulation through a reduction in cost and complexity. The biggest number of improvements were in the starting a business area, which looks at how long it takes to obtain a permit for starting a business and its associated processing costs.
Using the example of New Zealand, it was found that the process of formalising a company’s foundation could be completed in just a few hours through a single procedure.
A “distance to frontier” score (DTF) is determined by analysing factors including: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, resolving insolvency.
On the UK’s progress, business secretary Sajid Javid said: “The UK has once again climbed up the rankings and is one of the top places in the world to do business, getting closer to the government’s target of reaching the top five. This is international recognition of the UK’s strong and stable business environment, competitiveness and entrepreneurial spirit. Our economy is now growing faster than any other G7 nation.
“The government is taking steps to ensure that every part of Britain benefits from the growing economy and that everyone who works hard gets the opportunities they need to succeed.”
The “steps” he mentioned include cutting £10bn of red tape, reducing corporation tax to 18 per cent by 2020, boosting skills and productivity by creating more apprenticeships, investing £6.9bn in UK research infrastructure up to 2021 and building stronger links with emerging markets such as China, India and Brazil.
The ten best places to do business (DTF score):
(1) Singapore – 87.34
(2) New Zealand – 86.79
(3) Denmark – 84.40
(4) Korea Republic – 83.88
(5) Hong Kong – 83.67
(6) UK – 82.46
(7) US – 82.15
(8) Sweden – 81.72
(9) Norway – 81.61
(10) Finland – 81.05
The ten worst places to do business (DTF score):
(1) Eritrea – 27.61
(2) Libya – 31.77
(3) South Sudan – 34.78
(4) Venezuela – 35.51
(5) Central African Republic – 36.26
(6) Democratic Republic of Congo – 38.14
(7) Chad – 38.22
(8) Haiti – 39.56
(9) Angola – 39.64
(10) Equatorial Guinea – 40.03
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