Counting prostitution and drugs in the GDP data has seen the UK’s economy overtake France as fifth largest in the world. The London-based Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) has released its latest “league table” for the world’s 30-largest economies.

But the economic think-tank noted the UK’s figures included earnings from drugs and prostitution, which may have tipped its GDP over the threshold. Nevertheless, the latest Eurostat data showed the UK’s economy grew 3% in the most recent quarter when compared to the same time in 2013. France’s GDP growth was 0.4% for the equivalent period.

United Kingdom figures show that prostitution added about €5.5billion to the economy while illegal drugs provided a roughly €8.5billion boost. Therefore, Britain’s economy is expected to be worth a total €2.37trillion in 2014 – up from €2.08trillion the previous year – compared to €2.32trillion in France, new calculations reveal.

At the Centre for Economics and Business Research, experts say that France did not include the sex work and illegal drugs in its estimations. It added that, if it did, there was a possibility that it might retake its fifth place position – and that the UK might drop down to sixth. 

Even if the use of prostitution and illegal drugs activities are part of the new rules introduced by the European Union when it comes to evaluating one european nation’s economic worth, France does not include prostitution and illegal drugs in calculations as it does not believe they constitute “voluntary commercial activity”, adding that they are often tied to criminal networks.

The GDP covers every sector — from manufacturing and construction to agriculture, public services and tourism.

It now also covers the import, production and sale of illegal drugs and the ‘provision of prostitution services’.

The data classes growing drugs or importing them as “production”, buying them for home use as “expenditure” and selling them as “income”.

It covers crack cocaine, powder cocaine, heroin, cannabis, ecstasy and amphetamines.

While some EU countries give a detailed breakdown of prostitution types such as “street” and “escorts”, the UK is not able to do this with the data available.

And we still don’t know how the experts from the “Centre for Economics and Business Research” ended up with all those detailed figures. And how accurate and legitimate those detailed figures can be.

World economic league tables for 2014Source:

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