The Overview of the Economy of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK) 

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The Overview of the Economy of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK)

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The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK) was once the greatest empire and now is a leading trading power, it has the most influential economy in the world. The UK is one of the world's most globalised economies. It has the fifth-largest national economy (and second-largest in European Union (EU)) measured by nominal GDP and tenth-largest in the world (and third-largest in the EU) measured by purchasing power parity (PPP). The UK has been the fastest growing economy in the G7 for 3 years as of October 2015. In 2014 the UK was the ninth-largest exporter in the world and the fifth-largest importer, and had the second largest stock of inward foreign direct investment and the second-largest stock of outward foreign direct investment. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a member of the European Union as well as the United Nations and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The UK economy comprises the economies of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Great Britain has a mixed private and public enterprise economy. In Britain’s economy private enterprises produce 75% of output and generate nearly 70% of employment.To control and plan the economy, to avoid bankruptcy such private corporationsas British Coal, British Steel, the Post Office, British Telecom, the British Airports Authorities British Rail were nationalized after World War II. To make the British economy more efficient the government tries to stimulate innovations in industry, encourage competition, reduce taxes, promote exports, and work for world wide free trade. The government provides financial assistance and guidance to small companies as small businesses employ more than a third of the private sector workforce. They are responsible for one-sixth of total output.

Trade has been a key part of the British economy for centuries. Britain has only 1% of the world population but is the fifth largest trading nation. Its prosperity has been dependent upon the export of manufactured goods in exchange for raw materials and foodstuffs. Manufactured goods account for the bulk of all commodity trade in both directions and foodstuffs and raw materials (including oil) account for around one-sixth of both imports and exports.

In fact, nowadays there is no longer any difference in the broad categories of commodities imported and exported. Great Britain’s trade focushas shifted from the United States to the European Community, which now makes up over 50% of Britain’s trade. In addition, Commonwealth nations account for 11% of Great Britain’s trade. Germany, the United States, France and the Netherlands are Britain’s main export markets. Exports, mainly to France, the United States, Germany, Italy and Ireland, are estimated at $190.1 billion and importsfrom the same countries amount to $221.6 billion annually. The country’s chief exports are manufactured goods such as electrical and electronic equipment, aerospace equipment, machinery, chemicals, textile fibers, fuels, iron and steel, and transport equipment. The leading imports are manufactured and consumer goods, foodstuffs, industrial and electrical machinery, semi-finished goods, clothing and accessories, office machines and data processing equipment, and transport equipment.

There are several main trends that have affected Britain’s economy:

– the decline in the heavy industry;

– the growth of the offshore oiland gas industry;

– the rapid development of the electronic industry;

– the increase in the service industries, as distinct from manufacturing ones;

– the increase in the proportion of people in white collars as distinct from manual jobs.

According to these trends and the official statistics produced by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) the structure of the British economy can be divided into four main sectors: agriculture, construction, production and services. GDP growth as the main economic indicator, shows the contribution to growth of the four main sectors to the economy: agriculture (0.6%), construction industry(6.4%), production or manufacturing industry (14.6%), and services industry (78.4%). Currently, 1.4 percent of the labour force is employed in agriculture, 18.2 percent in construction and production and 80.4 percent in services.

Agriculture.The United Kingdom is unusual, even among western European countries, in the small proportion of its employed population engaged in agriculture. With commercial intensification of yields and a high level of mechanization, supported initially by national policy and by the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) of the EU, the output of some agricultural products has exceeded demand. Employment in agriculture has declined gradually and this tendency is likely to continue. Efforts have been made to create alternative employment opportunities in rural areas, some of which are remote from towns. The land area used for agriculture (about ¾ of the total) has also declined, and the arable share has fallen in favour of pasture.

Official agricultural policy has aimed to improve productivity, to ensure stable markets, to provide producers a fair standard of living, and to guarantee consumers regular food supplies at reasonable prices. To achieve these aims, the CAP provides a system of minimum prices for domestic goods and levies on imports to support domestic prices.

The most important farm crops are wheat, barley, oats, sugar beets, potatoes, and rapeseed. While significant proportions of wheat, barley, and rapeseed provide animal feed, much of the remainder is processed for human consumption through flour milling (wheat), malting and distilling (barley), and the production of vegetable oil (rapeseed). The main livestock products derive from cattle and calves, sheep and lambs, pigs, and poultry. The United Kingdom has achieved a high level of self-sufficiency in the main agricultural products except for sugar and cheese.

Forestry.About one-tenth of the United Kingdom’s land area is devoted to productive forestry. The government-supported Forestry Commission manages almost half of these woodlands, and the rest are in private hands.

Fishing.The country has lost opportunities to fish in some more-distant waters, and this has reduced its total catch more than those of other countries of the EU. The fishing industry now supplies only half the country’s total demand. The most important fish landed are cod, haddock, mackerel, whiting, as well as shellfishmaking up the bulk of the catch, including Norway lobsters, crabs, and oysters.

Words and phrases to be remembered:

mixed private and public enterprise economy — економіка, що ґрунтується на приватному та державному підприємництві

generate nearly 70% of employment — тут: створює 70 відсотків робочих місць

offshore oil — шельфова нафта

white collars — службовці

arable— орний

data processing equipment — обладнання для обробки інформації

electrical and electronic equipment — електротехнічне та електронне обладнання

estimate— оцінювати

aerospace industry — авіаційно-космічна промисловість,

semi-finished goods — напівфабрикати.

outstrip— випереджати, перевищувати.

self-sufficient in — незалежний, сам себе забезпечує

trade focus — центр торгівлі

worldwide free trade — світова вільна торгівля

rural— сільський

remote— віддалений

yield —врожай


I. A) Find in the text English equivalents for the following word combinations.

B) Write your own sentences using them.

Найбільш впливова економіка; уникнути банкруцтва; скоротити податки; забезпечити фінансову підтримку; бути відповідальним за щось; внутрішній валовий продукт; головний економічний показник; врожай; національна політика; частка орної землі; на користь; покращити продуктивність; забезпечити виробників; гарантувати споживачам; за розумною ціною; товари вітчизняного виробництва; головна продукція сільського господарства; втратити можливість; загальний вилов; загальний попит.

II. A) Give Ukrainian equivalents for the following word combinations.

B) Make up and play out a dialogue with another student using the English word combinations.

The world's most globalised economies; to stimulate innovations, to encourage competition; to promote exports; world wide free trade; total output; the contribution to growth; to engage in; a high level of mechanization; exceeded demand; rural areas; to ensure stable markets; a fair standard of living; food supplies; to achieve aims; to levy on imports; to derive from; a high level of self-sufficiency; to be devoted to; fishing industry.

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