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Read the text and answer the question: What are the most important trends in the development of the British economy?




Economy of the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom has the fourth-largest economy in the world, is the second-largest economy in the European Union, and is a major


international trading power. With a population representing only 2 per cent of the world total, it is one of the largest trading nations in the world, providing about 10 per cent of world exports of manu­factured goods.

The British were the first in the world to enter the Industrial Revolution, and, like most industrialising countries at the time, initially concentrated on heavy industries such as shipbuilding, coal mining, steel production, and textiles. The empire created an overseas market for British products, allowing the United Kingdom to dominate international trade in the 19th century. However, as other nations industrialised and surplus labour from agriculture began to dry up, the United Kingdom began to lose its economic advantage. As a result, heavy industry declined, by degrees, throughout the 20th century. The British service sector, however, has grown substantially, and now makes up about 70% of GDP.

The service sector of the United Kingdom is dominated by financial services, especially in banking and insurance. The heart of these activities is the city of London although there are other important centres in several large cities. The City contains probably the greatest concentration of financial expertise in the world. The London Stock Exchange, with its vast experience and world wide network of communications, is one of the world's markets in securities. Other important financial institutions in the City include the Bank of England as well as hundreds of commercial banks, British and foreign, and several large international commodity markets, for example for metals, rubber, grain, cocoa, coffee and tea.

Tourism is very important to the British economy. With over 27 mil­lion tourists a year, the United Kingdom is ranked as the sixth major tourist destination in the world.

The British manufacturing sector, however, has greatly diminished since World War II. The global downturn and the high value of the pound hurt manufacturing and exports. Although there is a steady decline in the importance of the manufacturing industry to the British economy, the sector is still important for overseas trade, accounting for more than 80 % of exports.

Engineering and allied industries comprise the single largest sector in the manufacturing industry. Within this sector, transport equipment was the largest contributor, with 8 global car manufacturers being

4 Зак. 541


present in the UK — BMW, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Nissan, PSA, Toyota and Volkswagen. A range of companies (like Brush Traction) manufacture railway locomotives and other related components. Associated with this sector are the aerospace and defence equipment industries. Another important component of engineering and allied industries is electronics, audio and optical equipment, with the UK having a broad base of domestic firms like Amstrad, Alba, ARM, etc. Chemicals and chemical-based products are another important contributor to the UK's manufacturing base. Within this sector, the pharmaceutical industry is particularly successful. Other important sectors of the manufacturing industry include food, drink, tobacco, paper, printing, publishing and textiles.

Agriculture is intensive, highly mechanised, and efficient by European standards, producing about 60% of food needs with less than 2% of the labour force. It contributes around 2% of GDP. Around two thirds of production is devoted to livestock, one third to arable crops. The main crops that are grown are wheat, barley, oats, potatoes, sugar beets, fruits and vegetables. The livestock which are raised are cattle and sheep. Agriculture is heavily subsidised by the European Union's Common Agricultural Policy.



The UK is one of the world's leading fishing nations. Its fleets bring home fish of every kind, ranging from sole to herring.

After the national economy of Britain joined the European Economic Community, its foreign trade has substantially expanded. Britain imports huge quantities of primary products and exports about a third of its manufactured goods. Although entry into the Common Market was supposed to be the way to re-vitalize the British economy, it has not. Europe sells more to Britain than it buys from her. A lot of economic problems of Britain can be explained by the fact that British productivity lags behind that of Japan or the US. The main trade partners of Britain are other developed countries — Germany, the USA, Japan, France, and some other.

Pronunciation

A. The word "increase" can be a noun or a verb. The stress falls on the first syllable if it is a noun and the second syllable if it is a verb.


We need an increase in output. We need to increase our output.

Here are some more words that follow this pattern. Try saying each word twice. Change the stress each time.

decrease import export

progress record refund





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