World Bank: UK is good place to do business

Wednesday 28 October 2015

The 2015 Ease of Doing Business report has been published by the World Bank, and has revealed that the UK is the sixth-most business friendly country out of a total of 189. Last year, the UK placed eighth, again out of 189.

This has placed it ahead of the US, Germany and Japan, among other developed countries. Once again, the top spot went to Singapore, followed by New Zealand, Denmark, South Korea and Hong Kong.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid welcomed the news and 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.”

While the findings apply to businesses of all types and sizes, politicians have been keen to draw attention to the positive impact of small businesses and people who are self-employed, particularly those who set up and grow limited companies.

The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) took this announcement to draw attention to its future plans to boost business in the UK, which it is hoped will benefit businesses across the board.

One of these is a concerted drive to cut unnecessary restrictions and regulations in the energy (including oil and gas), waste, agriculture, care homes and mineral extraction industries over the next five years. It is predicted that this could save businesses as much as £10 billion.

Plans have also been announced to invest £6.9 in the country’s research infrastructure by 2021, which could offer a variety of opportunities to highly qualified contractors who work in a number of scientific fields.

Further investments will be made in ensuring that the UK is training and educating the next generation of skilled workers and professionals, with plans to have three million people starting apprenticeships in 2020, as well as focusing on STEM subjects in universities.

Boosting international trade is another high-profile part of BIS’s plan to further improve the state of UK business. The recent high-profile visit of Chinese president Xi Xinping is one example of how the government is working to attract foreign investment in the UK, particularly in the north-west of England and in infrastructure and construction projects.

However, ministers also plan to target a number of other countries with strong, developing economies. These include India and Brazil, along with seeking out more major trade partners within the EU.

Corporate tax is also set to be cut again in 2020, when it will fall from 20 per cent to 18 per cent. This will be the lowest rate in any of the G20 countries if present taxes are maintained elsewhere.

By Victoria McDonnell

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