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India, China biggest threat to UK economy

A Deloitte/YouGov study of public attitudes to global economic competition found that 45 per cent of Britons saw India as a threat.

india Updated: Feb 07, 2006 20:15 IST
Nabanita Sircar
Nabanita Sircar

United Kingdom views India and China as the biggest challenges to the British economy.

In a Deloitte/YouGov study of public attitudes to global economic competition, 79 per cent of 2,704 people have identified fast-growing China as the largest threat to the UK.

India was seen as the main challenge to the UK by 45 per cent of those surveyed.

A separate Deloitte report said the UK could fall from sixth to the 12th most competitive global economy by 2010. China is seen as the biggest threat to the UK as its manufacturing sector continues to boom, while India now houses a number of call centres for UK firms.

The Deloitte/YouGov survey found that 64 percent of respondents expressed a negative reaction to such off-shoring and a quarter also held the opinion that existing off-shoring programmes should be reversed. Just 6 per cent said they supported their continuation.

"The survey results clearly show the uncertainty that exists among the UK population when it comes to the growing prowess of India and China," said David Owen, head, Deloitte consulting.

He said there "needed to be a great understanding among the public that the transfer of certain jobs to other locations is a trend that is likely to continue and brings with it opportunities as well as threats.

"UK located companies should benefit from, rather than be threatened by the increasingly global nature of the product and services markets."

About 75 per cent of the survey's respondents said there should be greater investment in education and training to help boost the UK's competitiveness. A further 60 per cent said there should be more support for small business start-ups.

"One possible way for government to raise skills is for tax credits to be awarded to businesses for training spend, similar to the incentives used to raise UK levels of innovation," added Owen.

Deloitte's separate Trading Places report on the world's most competitive countries, put the US in first place, followed by Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Germany, and the UK.

By 2010 it estimates that while the US, Sweden, Finland and Denmark will keep their positions, South Korea will overtake Germany; and the UK will drop from sixth to 12th as it is overtaken by the likes of Canada, Japan, Switzerland and Austria.

Accountancy giant Deloitte called for more innovation, enterprise and investment to help prevent this decline.

YouGov is a market research company.

First Published: Feb 07, 2006 20:15 IST