Britain set to slump outside world's top 10 leading economies by 2015 - behind India, Russia and Canada

Blow: The findings will be a disappointment to Gordon Brown - Britain was ranked fourth among the world economies in 2005

Blow: The findings will be a disappointment to Gordon Brown - Britain was ranked fourth among the world economies in 2005

Britain could drop out of the world's top ten economies by 2015, a hard-hitting report warns today.

The Centre for Economics and Business Research says Britain has slipped to seventh in the league table this year behind America, China, Japan, Germany, France and Italy.

It goes on to warn that Britain could be overtaken by Russia, Brazil, India and Canada by 2015.

The findings are a blow to Gordon Brown as Britain was rated the fourth largest economy in the world as recently as 2005.

The think tank report says slow growth and a weak pound will be responsible for the projected slide, which is based on current trends.

Its author Douglas McWilliams, chief executive of the CEBR, said Australia could also catch and overtake the British economy by 2020.

He went on to warn that Britain could lose its influence on the global stage if its economy slips further down the leagues.

The report says: 'Perhaps the area where this will be most noticeable will be on the diplomatic front.

'It will be difficult to maintain the UK's current high diplomatic profile when we are no longer in the world's top ten. Can we maintain a permanent seat on the UN Security Council?

'Among other things, it means that whether we like it or not, we are going to have to be prepared to put up with economic, political and social decisions that are made internationally – not only in other countries but quite likely in countries which have very different approaches to, for example, human rights.'

But Mr McWilliams said most European countries will also fare badly in the next few years so it is probable Britain's relative position in the EU 'will not change much from now on'.

The report's findings come just days after official figures showed Britain was the only country in the G20 group of the world's most powerful economies still in recession.

The Office for National Statistics said last week that between July and September Britain's economy slipped 0.3 per cent, compared to the previous three months.

It is the longest recession in the UK since records began in 1955, with the economy having contracted for six consecutive quarters.

Canada, the other country lagging behind the rest, had resumed growth in the three months from July to September, going up 0.1 per cent.  This has left Britain as the only G20 country where the economy is still contracting.

However, Alistair Darling will this week say that Britain’s economy is on the brink of recovery and that growth will be strong from 2011 onwards.

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