The impact of recession, the near collapse of the financial system and the parlous state of the public finances have pushed the UK down the international league table for competitiveness, according to a new authoritative survey.

The World Economic Forum, the body best known for its annual high profile conference in the Swiss resort of Davos, ranks the UK just ahead of Colombia and just behind Montenegro in its ratings for macroeconomic stability.

At 71st in the world, the UK is one of the worst performing of the advanced economies – behind France (58th), Germany (30th) and Sweden (15th). However, the even more exposed US economy has slumped to 93rd, while Japan, with a debt to GDP ratio of about 180 per cent, ranks in 97th place.

The Independent