Agriculture, Hunting, Forestry, and Fishing

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Agriculture, Hunting, Forestry, and Fishing

Agriculture is intensive, highly mechanized, and efficient by European standards, producing about 60% of food needs with less than 2% of the labour force (477,000 out of a total workforce of 31,598,000, 3rd quarter of 2007). It contributes around 2% of GDP. Around two-thirds of the production is devoted to livestock, one-third to arable crops. The main crops that are grown are wheat, barley, oats, oilseed rape, maize for animal feeds, potatoes and sugar beet. New crops are also emerging, such as linseed for oil and hemp for fibre production. The main livestock which are raised are cattle, chickens (the UK is the second largest poultry producer in Europe after France) and sheep. Agriculture is subsidized by the European Union's Common Agricultural Policy. The UK retains a significant, although vastly reduced, fishing industry. Its fleets, based in towns such as Kingston upon Hull, Grimsby, Fleetwood, Great Yarmouth, Peterhead, Fraserburgh, and Lowestoft, bring home fish ranging from sole to herring. The Blue Book 2006 reports that the "Agriculture hunting, forestry and fishing" added gross value of £10,323 million (at 2006 prices) to the UK economy in 2004.

Mining and Quarrying

The Blue Book 2006 reports that this sector added gross value of £21,876 million to the UK economy in 2004.


In 2003, manufacturing industry accounted for 16% of national output in the UK and for 13% of employment, according to the Office for National Statistics. This is a continuation of the steady decline in the importance of this sector to the British economy since the 1960s, although the sector is still important for overseas trade, accounting for 83% of exports in 2003. The regions with the highest proportion of employees in manufacturing were the East Midlands and West Midlands (at 19 and 18% respectively). London had the lowest at 6%.

Although the manufacturing sector's share of both employment and the UK's GDP has steadily fallen since the 1960s, data from the OECD shows that manufacturing output in terms of both production and value has steadily increased since 1945. This is a trend common in many mature Western economies. Heavy industry, employing many thousands of people and producing large volumes of low-value goods (such as steelmaking) has either become highly efficient (producing the same amount of output from fewer manufacturing sites employing fewer people- for example, productivity in the UK's steel industry increased by a factor of 8 between 1978 and 2006) or has been replaced by smaller industrial units producing high-value goods (such as the aerospace and electronics industries).

Engineering and allied industries comprise the single largest sector, contributing 30.8% of total Gross Value Added in manufacturing in 2003. Within this sector, transport equipment was the largest contributor, with 8 global car manufacturers being present in the UK – BMW (MINI, Rolls-Royce), Tata (Jaguar-Land Rover), General Motors (Vauxhall Motors), Honda, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen (Bentley) with a number of smaller, specialist manufacturers (including Lotus and Morgan) and commercial vehicle manufacturers (including Leyland Trucks, LDV, Alexander Dennis, JCB, the main global manufacturing plant for the Ford Transit, Manganese Bronze and Case-New Holland) also being present. The British motor industry also comprises numerous components for the sector, such as Ford's diesel engine plant in Dagenham, which produces half of Ford's diesel engines globally.

A range of companies like Brush Traction and Hunslet manufacture railway locomotives and other related components. Associated with this sector are the aerospace and defense equipment industries. The UK manufactures a broad range of equipment, with the sector being dominated by BAE Systems, which manufactures civil and defense aerospace, land and marine equipment; VT Group, one of the world's largest builders of warships; and GKN and Rolls Royce, who manufacture aerospace engines and power generation systems. Commercial shipbuilders include Harland and Wolff, Cammell Laird, Abels, Barclay Curle and Appledore. Companies such as Fairline Boats and Sunseeker are major builders of private motor yachts.

Another important component of Engineering and allied industries is electronics, audio and optical equipment, with the UK having a broad base of domestic firms, alongside a number of foreign firms manufacturing a wide range of TV, radio and communications products, scientific and optical instruments, electrical machinery and office machinery and computers.

Chemicals and chemical-based products are another important contributor to the UK's manufacturing base. Within this sector, the pharmaceutical industry is particularly successful, with the world's second and third largest pharmaceutical firms (GlaxoSmithKline and Astra Zeneca respectively) being based in the UK and having major research and development and manufacturing facilities there.

Other important sectors of the manufacturing industry include food, drink, tobacco, paper, printing, publishing and textiles. The UK is also home to three of the world's biggest brewing companies: Diageo, SABMiller and Scottish and Newcastle, other major manufacturing companies such as Unilever, Cadbury, Tate & Lyle, British American Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco, EMAP, HarperCollins, Reed Elsevier, Ben Sherman, Burberry, French Connection, Reebok, Pentland Group and Umbro being amongst the largest present. The Blue Book 2006 reports that this sector added gross value of £147,469 million to the UK economy in 2004.

Manufacturing is an important sector of the modern British economy and there is a considerable amount of published research on the subject of the factors affecting its growth and performance. Of late, such things as increases in taxation and regulation have tended to diminish the favorableness of the political-legal environment for UK industry. Within manufacturing, British firms and industries have often lagged behind their overseas competitors in terms of productivity and various other key performance measures. However, Britain – the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution – continues to be one of the most attractive countries in the world for direct foreign industrial investment.

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