United Kingdom/Economy - شهية الطبخ المغربي

United Kingdom/Economy


The United Kingdom is an important manufacturing and trading nation. In
fact, the country can survive only by manufacturing and trading. The
United Kingdom's farms produce only about two-thirds of the food needed
by the people. Except for coal, natural gas, and oil, the United Kingdom
has few natural resources. The country must import about a third of its
food and many of the raw materials it needs for manufacturing.
Service industries account for about 70 percent of the United Kingdom's
gross domestic product (GDP). The GDP is the total value of goods and
services produced within the country annually. About 75 percent of British
workers are employed in service industries. The country's service
industries are concentrated in and near its largest cities, especially
London.
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Finance, insurance, real estate, and business services contribute a larger
portion of the United Kingdom's GDP than any other service industry
group. Most of the country's financial companies operate in London, one of
the world's leading financial cities. Major financial institutions in London
include the Bank of England, the United Kingdom's national bank; the
London Stock Exchange; and Lloyd's of London insurance society. The
United Kingdom has many firms that offer such business services as
accounting, advertising, data processing, and engineering.
Community, government, and personal services rank second among the
service industries of the United Kingdom in terms of the GDP. This group
employs more people than any other industry in the country. It includes
such activities as education, health care, legal services, and military
operations.
Trade, hotels, and restaurants rank next among the service industries.
Aberdeen and London are important centers of petroleum distribution.
Leeds is the chief center for the wholesale trade of clothing. Tourist
activities in the United Kingdom, especially in the London area, provide
important income to hotels, restaurants, and retail shops. Tourists spend
over $20 billion yearly in the United Kingdom.
Utilities provide electric power and water services to people of the United
Kingdom. The United Kingdom's other service industries, transportation
and communication, are discussed later in this section.
Manufacturing. The United Kingdom is a leading industrial nation. Most
British industries are in central England, the London area, the Scottish
Central Lowlands, the Newcastle upon Tyne area, and southern Wales.
Early factories were located near the coal fields because coal powered the
steam engines that moved the machinery. Today, the use of electricity,
oil, and gas has enabled many new industries to develop far from the coal
fields, especially in southern England.
The United Kingdom ranks as an important steel-producing country. It
exports nearly half of its finished steel. The rest is used in the United
Kingdom to make hundreds of products. Much steel is used in the
manufacture of automobiles, buses, trucks, and motorcycles.
The United Kingdom also produces heavy machinery for industry, farming,
and mining. The country is one of the world's largest producers of
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tractors. Other products include cranes, earth movers, road graders,
harvesters, and drilling machines. British factories also make railway
equipment, household appliances, and machine tools. The city of Sheffield
is famous for its high-quality knives and hand tools.
British Aerospace makes a wide range of jet aircraft. It is the largest
aerospace company in Europe. Space satellites and weapons defense
systems are also produced in the United Kingdom. Aerospace equipment
and heavy machinery are major British exports.
An increasing percentage of the United Kingdom's manufactured goods
consists of sophisticated electronic equipment. Much of this equipment is
exported. Factories produce such items as cable television equipment,
data processing equipment, fiber-optic communications systems, radar
devices, and undersea telephone cables.
The chemical industry in the United Kingdom produces a variety of
products-from industrial chemicals to plastics and soap. The United
Kingdom is the fourth largest exporter of pharmaceuticals. The country's
pottery industry is centered in Stoke-on-Trent. Outstanding names in
British pottery include Worcester, Spode, and Wedgwood.
The United Kingdom is one of the world's chief centers of printing and
publishing. British companies print paper money and postage stamps for
many countries. Books published in the United Kingdom are exported to
countries throughout the world.
The Industrial Revolution began in the United Kingdom's textile industry.
Today, the United Kingdom remains an important producer of cotton and
woolen textiles. British manufacturers also make synthetic fibers and
fabrics. England's east Midlands region is a center for the production of
lace and knitwear. Cotton and wool are produced in northern England.
Scotland produces knitwear and is famous for its fine woolen products.
Northern Ireland has a worldwide reputation for its linen goods.
The United Kingdom has one of Europe's largest clothing industries. The
biggest centers are Leicester, Leeds, London, and Manchester. British
clothing has long been famous for its quality. But today, the United
Kingdom imports more clothing than it exports because many countries
with lower labor costs can produce clothing more cheaply than the British
can.
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Processing of foods and beverages ranks as one of the United Kingdom's
major industries. Most processed foods and beverages are consumed in
the United Kingdom. But some are exported. Scotch whisky has a large
world market. Other British industries manufacture bricks and cement,
furniture, leather goods, glassware, and paper.
Agriculture. The United Kingdom imports about a third of its food supply.
The imports include avocados, bananas, citrus fruits, peppers, pineapples,
and other items that cannot be easily grown in the United Kingdom's
climate.
Farmland covers about 70 percent of the United Kingdom's land area. The
nation has about 240,000 farms. About two-thirds of the United
Kingdom's farmers own the farms on which they live. The rest rent their
farms. About half the people who operate or work on farms do so on a
part-time basis.
Many British farmers practice mixed farming-that is, they raise a variety
of crops and animals. Methods of mixed farming vary from farm to farm.
In the rough highlands of Scotland, Wales, and western England, grass
grows much better than farm crops. There, farmers use most of their land
for grazing. The land in southern and eastern England is drier and flatter,
and it is more easily worked. Farmers in eastern England use most of their
land for raising crops.
The United Kingdom's most important crops are barley, potatoes,
rapeseed, sugar beets, and wheat. Farmers in southern and eastern
England grow almost all the country's rapeseed, sugar beets, and wheat
and most of its barley. Potatoes are grown throughout the United
Kingdom. Farmers in southern England grow most of the United
Kingdom's fruits and garden vegetables. One of the most productive
regions is the county of Kent in southeastern England. It is called the
Garden of England and is famous for the beautiful blossoms of its apple
and cherry orchards in springtime. Farmers in Kent also grow hops, which
are used in making beer.
Sheep are the United Kingdom's chief livestock. Farmers in almost every
part of the country raise sheep for meat and wool. British farmers also
raise beef cattle, dairy cattle, and hogs. Chickens are raised mainly in
special mass-production plants.
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Mining. The United Kingdom is a major world producer of petroleum,
coal, and natural gas. These three fuels account for about 85 percent of
the value of total mineral production in the country.
Petroleum is the United Kingdom's most valuable mineral. British oil wells
produce more than 800 million barrels of petroleum a year. In the past,
the country had to import petroleum to meet its needs. But during the
1970's, the United Kingdom began producing petroleum from wells in the
North Sea. Today, the United Kingdom's oil wells provide nearly all the
petroleum that the country uses and also supply petroleum for export.
The United Kingdom's largest coal-mining region lies near the River Trent
in central England. Coal from this area is an important fuel source for the
country's electric power plants.
The United Kingdom obtains natural gas from deposits below the North
Sea. These deposits provide enough gas to meet most of the country's
needs.
The United Kingdom's next most important minerals, in order of value, are
sand and gravel, limestone, and clays. The Southwest Peninsula has fine
china clay, used in making pottery. Southeastern England has large
deposits of chalk, used for cement. Other British minerals include
sandstone and gypsum.
Fishing. The United Kingdom is an important fishing nation. The British
fishing industry supplies about 925,000 short tons (840,000 metric tons)
of fish yearly. About half this catch comes from the waters surrounding
the United Kingdom, especially the North Sea. The principal catches
include cod, haddock, herring, mackerel, plaice, and whiting. Large
catches of shellfish are also brought in. The main fishing ports are on the
east coast and in the southwestern part of the island of Great Britain.
Fish farms in the United Kingdom produce salmon, trout, and shellfish.
Scotland is especially known for its salmon farms.
Energy sources. Fuel-burning plants provide about 70 percent of the
United Kingdom's electric power. Nuclear energy provides most of the
remaining electric power. In 1956, the United Kingdom opened the world's
first large-scale nuclear power station at Calder Hall, Cumbria, in
northwestern England. Natural gas fields under the North Sea provide
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most of the country's natural gas needs. Petroleum deposits off the coast
of Scotland supply enough oil to meet the United Kingdom's needs.
International trade. The United Kingdom ranks as a leading trading
nation. The country once imported chiefly raw materials and exported
mostly manufactured products. However, manufactured goods now
account for about 85 percent of British imports and about 80 percent of its
exports.
The United Kingdom exports aerospace equipment, chemicals and
pharmaceuticals, foods and beverages, machinery, motor vehicles,
petroleum, and scientific and medical equipment. Its imports include
chemicals, clothing, foods (especially fruit, vegetables, meat, coffee, and
tea), machinery, metals, motor vehicles, paper and newsprint, petroleum
products, and textiles.
Most of the United Kingdom's trade is with other developed countries,
especially other members of an organization known as the European
Union. France, Germany, and the United States are the United Kingdom's
leading customers and suppliers. Other major trade partners include
Belgium, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Switzerland.
The value of the United Kingdom's imports of goods usually exceeds the
value of its exports. British banks and insurance companies make up part
of the difference by selling their services to people and firms in other
lands. Another important source of income is the spending by the more
than 15 million tourists who visit the United Kingdom each year. The
British merchant fleet also brings in money by carrying cargoes for other
countries. The income from all these invisible exports exceeds $200 billion
a year.
Transportation. Roads and railways carry most passenger and freight
traffic within the United Kingdom. A system of high-speed motorways links
major cities and towns. Bus systems provide local and intercity
transportation. Lorries (trucks) carry about 80 percent of the inland
freight.
An extensive rail network crisscrosses the United Kingdom. The railroads
provide high-speed passenger service, as well as freight hauling.
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The United Kingdom has a large merchant fleet. The ships in the fleet
carry British-made goods to ports throughout the world and bring back
needed imports. British ships also carry freight for other countries. There
are about 80 ports of commercial significance throughout the United
Kingdom.
The country's inland waterways are used to carry freight, as well as for
recreational boating. The Thames, which flows through London, is the
United Kingdom's busiest river and one of the busiest in the world.
Ferry services connect coastal and island communities in the United
Kingdom. Hovercraft (vehicles that ride over water on a cushion of air)
carry passengers mainly across the English Channel between England
and France. In 1987, work began on a railroad tunnel to link the United
Kingdom and France beneath the channel. This railroad tunnel opened in
1994.
British Airways, the United Kingdom's largest airline, operates flights to all
parts of the world. Smaller airlines provide service within the United
Kingdom and to other countries. The United Kingdom's largest airports are
Heathrow and Gatwick, both near London, and those at Birmingham,
Glasgow, and Manchester.
Communication. The United Kingdom has about 100 daily newspapers.
About 15 have nationwide circulation. Their main offices are in London.
The Sun and the Daily Mirror have the largest circulations. Leading papers
include The Times, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, and The
Independent.
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), a public corporation, provides
commercial-free radio and television service. The BBC is financed chiefly
by yearly licenses that people must buy to own a television set. Television
stations controlled by the Independent Television Commission and radio
stations controlled by the Radio Authority broadcast commercials, but
advertisers do not sponsor programs.
The British Post Office provides many services in addition to handling mail.
For example, local post offices sell TV licenses, dog licenses, and national
insurance stamps. People can draw pensions and family allowances and
also bank their savings at the country's post offices.

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