UK economy to overtake France and Germany, think-tank says

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Chancellor George Osborne was handed some good news last night when a new report predicated that the UK is on course to become Europe’s largest economy within two decades.

The think-tank Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) predicts the UK’s GDP will first move to fifth place worldwide, overtaking France in 2018 before leapfrogging Germany around 2030. And the report also claimed that Britain’s economy would become even stronger were it not a part of the European Union.

The CEBR report claims Britain will be the second most successful of the Western economies after the US but predicts it will fall behind the accelerating economies of India and Brazil.

An extract said: “Germany is forecast to lose its position as the largest Western European economy to the UK around 2030 because of the UK’s faster population growth and lesser dependence on the other European economies.

“If the euro were to break up, Germany’s outlook would be much better. A Deutsche Mark-based Germany certainly would not be overtaken by the UK for many years, if ever.”

Douglas McWilliams, the CEBR’s chief executive, said that Britain could become even stronger outside the EU.

“My instinct is that in the short term, the impact of leaving the EU would undoubtedly be negative,” he said. “My suspicion is that over a 15-year period, it would probably be positive.”

The gap between the two countries will fall from almost £610bn in 2013 to just £183bn in five years. The UK’s GDP will grow from more than £1.59 trillion in 2013 to £2.6 trillion in 2028, compared to China which is predicted to be in top position with a GDP of more than £20.5 trillion, ahead of the US with an estimated £19.7 trillion.