Britain now in 
global top five 
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BRITAIN’S ECONOMIC recovery has seen the nation vying with France for the title of the world’s fifth largest economy amid predictions it will even outstrip the industrial powerhouse of Germany by 2030.

The extent of Britain’s economic revival has been revealed in a global league table published today, although economics consultants, Cebr Global, maintained the tiny margin between the UK and France made the result too close to call with certainty. And recent changes mean the UK gross domestic product (GDP) figures include spending on illicit services such as prostitution and drugs, which are not counted in France.

The group claimed the “unstoppable” rise of India will see it surpass Britain to become the largest economy in the Commonwealth in 2018 and the third largest economy in the world by 2024.

The latest edition of Cebr Global’s World Economic League Table shows China’s growth continuing so strongly it is now predicted to overhaul the US as the world’s biggest economy by 2025 – compared to 2028 last year. UK GDP in 2014 was $2,828bn (£1,820.4bn) compared to $2,827bn (£1,819.7bn) for France, according to the report.

The gap is “well within the margin of error”, said Cebr Global, adding that if France’s markets in drugs and prostitution were included, they may prove to be “larger than their British counterparts”.

Cebr chief executive Douglas McWilliams said: “The fun of the world economic league table is that it brings things back to hard figures. Countries like Russia and Argentina, who have invaded neighbouring countries and whose leaders spout aggressively nationalistic rhetoric, are brought down to earth by their falls in the league table as their economies collapse.

“The table also shows the dramatic changes now taking place in the world’s economic geography with slow-growing European economies falling back and Asian economies, even though their growth is slowing, catching up.”

Germany is predicted to slide back economically due to its declining population and the euro’s likely weakness, to the extent that Britain will overtake it in 2030 for the first time since 1954 – when the comparison was with West Germany alone.

But if Germany left the euro, its currency strength would mean the UK would be unlikely to overtake it until 2050, by which point Britain’s superior demographics would prove “irresistible”.

The 2014 rankings put the US first, then China, Japan, Germany, the UK and France. Brazil is in seventh, then Italy, India and Russia. By 2030, China is expected to be the world’s biggest economy ahead of the US and India in third, followed by Japan, Brazil, the UK, Germany, South Korea, France and Russia.