Businesses from the UK created more wealth in the past year than any other European nation's firms, according to the latest official statistics.
The fifth annual Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) value added scoreboard found that UK firms' wealth creation was ten per cent higher than in 2005, greater than the major European economies of Germany, France and Italy.
Of the top 700 European firms in terms of wealth creation, 197 are UK-based, compared to 96 German and 91 French companies.
The British 197 were found to have generated £403 billion over the last 12 months, with the top businesses from Germany and France creating £310 billion and £288 billion respectively.
Alistair Darling, the trade and industry secretary, hailed today's results as proof that the biggest UK businesses were outperforming their European equivalents.
"The UK economy is the fourth largest economy in the world, and in recent years we have grown more rapidly than our major European competitors. The value added scoreboard provides further evidence that the UK's top companies are producing more wealth more efficiently than their counterparts elsewhere in Europe," he said.
"This is an outstanding performance from UK companies across a wide range of business sectors. Their wealth creation is a firm foundation for continued UK prosperity."
Mr Darling attributed the encouraging performance of UK companies to their inter-sector versatility and their wealth creation efficiency, which was also higher than any other European country.
"British firms' ability to compete in the global economy largely and increasingly depends on creating higher levels of value added through innovation," he added.