David Cameron addresses entrepreneurs
David Cameron addresses entrepreneurs and business leaders during a visit to the local central government office in Queen Street, where unused office space will be offered to private enterpriseGetty

The UK is the best EU economy in which to start a business, according to research conducted by the Legatum Institute. The report revealed the UK's economic performance was better than any other European country over the past two years.

The research was conducted for the annual Prosperity Index, which measures its results by looking at the economic success and well-being of 142 countries across eight different categories: Economy, Entrepreneurship & Opportunity, Governance, Education, Health, Safety & Security, Personal Freedom, and Social Capital.

The index noted the UK has reached the highest level of economic success ever recorded, climbing nine places from 2014 to secure 19th place in the Economy category, while also being ranked as the 15th most prosperous country in the world.

"The UK is growing faster in the Economy category than any other major EU country," said Nathan Gamester, programme director of the Prosperity Index. "The UK is among the most prosperous countries in the world, however, Britain's real success has been its recent economic transformation."

Low costs associated with setting up a business contributed to the country's high entrepreneurial ranking, with data revealing start-up costs in the UK are the third lowest in the world. The index also noted people's perception of the UK's entrepreneurial environment contributed to the ranking, with a Gallup poll indicating 70% of people think the UK is a good place to start a business; this is up from 48% in 2012.

The index recorded full-time employment among the UK's poorest is higher than any other EU country, with the gap between the richest and the poorest having halved since 2009.

"Since the financial crash, the government has prioritised getting people into work," said Gamester. "And the results are quite incredible. The gap in full-time employment between the richest and poorest 20% of the country has halved since 2009. This is the biggest turnaround of any major developed economy."