The report, by the Centre for Policy Studies, covers three separate tables (from the World Economic Forum, the Institute for Management Development and the Heritage Foundation (who they)). But all three tell a similar story: that since 1997, the UK has tumbled below the likes of Singapore and even Denmark in the rankings thanks largely to oppressive regulation, higher taxes and wasteful public spending.
Now it's worth bearing in mind that this particular think-tank is traditionally right of centre - so it's no surprise to see it producing research that hammers the previous Government. On the other hand, it would presumably argue that it didn't come up with these stats; the organisations in question did. And the kind of falls in evidence - from 7th to 12th, from 9th to 22nd and from 5th to 16th respectively - paint a pretty damning picture.
Osborne, of course, argues that this justifies the kind of drastic action the Government is taking to cut the deficit; he's been insisting today that his current provides 'credibility where there was no credibility, stability where there was no stability, confidence that actually the British economy is getting its act together.' The academics, on the other hand, argue that his plan just isn't working.
Of course, when it comes to politics, everyone has their axe to grind (the signatories have been described in many quarters as left-leaning - though perhaps a little lazily, since at least some of them supported the Government's cuts programme last year). But these things do matter: Osborne suggested today that they didn't represent the 'consensus of opinion'; but although that may have been true six months ago, the economy’s feeble recovery is clearly changing things.
So it'll be interesting to see what the International Monetary Fund says today when it delivers its latest verdict on the UK’s public finances. Back in November it said the UK was 'on the mend'. If it strikes a more negative tone today, it'll be a lot harder for Osborne to claim that his opponents are on the wrong side of the argument.