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The economy of the UK



1) Industry

2) The South

3) The Midlands

4) Lancashire, Yorkshire and the North

5) Wales

6) Scotland

7) Northern Ireland


1) Britain today is the 5th in size of its gross domestic product. It is also the 5th largest trading nation in the world. The most important change in Britain’s trade took place after 1973 when the country joined the European Economic Community, which is known today as the European Union. In recent years new industries have made serious progress such as aero plane, chemicals, oil, gas, electronics, and biotechnology. The British economy is mainly based on private enterprise. A little over 2 per cent of Britain’s working population is engaged in agriculture. Britain continues to be one of the world’s largest importers of agricultural products, raw materials. The country imports such materials and products which can’t be grown in Britain: different fruits, vegetables, cotton, etc. in terms of its economic development Britain may be divided into the following economic regions: the South, the Midlands, Lancashire, Yorkshire and the North, Scotland, Wales, N.I.

2) The South Industrial and Agricultural Region is the most important in the country. The region includes the South-East and the South-West. At the center of everything is the city of London. The importance of London depends upon its situation. The oldest industrial areas are near the city center. Here industries such as clothing, furniture-making and jewellery are concentrated in small areas. London’s industries are extremely varied among them: electrical engineering, instrument production, radio engineering, and aircraft production. London is also a great center of the service industries. Service industries provide employment for twice as many people as manufacturing industries. The other towns and cities, situated to the north of the Thames and closely connected with the capital in industrial specialization, are Oxford, Cambridge and Luton. Oxford became a leading educational center and by the end of the 13th century the earliest colleges of its world famous university had been founded. Cambridge is also known for its ancient university. Its industries connected with electronics and printing links with the university. Luton situated nearby became a major center of car production and other engineering industries. The Thames valley between London and Bristol, is an area of concentration of high technology industries such as electronic engineering, etc. Bristol is a historic island port; its history influenced its industries such as the manufacture of tobacco products and chocolate. Bristol is also a major center of the aircraft and automobile industry as well as the defense industries. The famous supersonic passenger airliner “Concorde” was made here. Of the towns situated on the southern coast of England the largest ones are Plymouth, Southampton, Portsmouth, Brighton and Bournemouth. Today Plymouth is a major naval base of the British navy. Southampton is mainly a transatlantic seaport. Brighton and Bournemouth are the leading and most popular seaside resorts of the southern coast of Britain.

3) The Midlands is situated in the center of Gr.Br. between the South Industrial and Agricultural region in the south and Lancashire and Yorkshire in the north. For the past 200 years the Midlands has been one of Britain’s leading industrial regions. It was the presence of coalfields which influenced the industrial development of Birmingham, Coventry and several other larger towns make the face of the region. Birmingham is the second largest city in Britain with a population of about 1 mln. The city is a major producer of consumer goods. Coventry is the center of the British motor industry. Wolverhampton is a center where heavy engineering, tire production are developed. There are 3 other major industrial centers: Leicester, Nottingham and Derby. The first two are leading centers of the knitwear industry and the manufacture of knitting machines. Derby is an important railway engineering center. In the south-west lies a district of the Midlands known as the Potteries with its center Stoke-upon-Trent famous for its pottery and ceramics industry.

4) Lancashire, Yorkshire and the North are situated to the north of the Midlands. Lancashire is a historic center of British industry, it is a birthplace of capitalism and it was here that the Industrial Revolution started. We may distinguish 2 major centers: Merseyside centered on Liverpool and Greater Manchester. Liverpool is Britain’s leading port. Greater Manchester includes a number of towns. In the past Manchester was a major center of the textile industry. Today general engineering is the leading industry in Manchester and the surrounding towns. Of the towns situated on the shore of the Irish Sea most important is Blackpool, which is a popular resort in northern England. In Yorkshire situated to the east of the Pennine montains we may distinguish 3 main industrial centers: Sheffield in the South, Leeds, Bradford and Scunthorpe in the West, the Humber ports of Hull, Immingham and Grimsby. Sheffield produces a wide range of steel goods besides cutlery. The main industry of Leeds is the manufacture of clothing. Bradford has long been the leading center of woolen manufacture. In the north of Yorkshire the largest town is York. On the North Sea coast the most popular holiday resort is Scarborough. The iron and steel industry is developed in Scunthorpe. The economy of Yorkshire was closely connected with wool. This is reflected in the development of agriculture. In North England we may distinguish 2 main centers of industrial activity. One situated in the north-east around the estuaries of the rivers Tyne, Wear and Tees, and the other in the north-west in Cumberland. The chemical industry has made serious progress here. Industrial development in the North-West is less extensive than in the North-East.

5) Wales is mainly mountainous. South Wales is the main area of industrial activity, because it was coal that first gave life to industry. Cardiff is the largest city in industrial South Wales, and is also the national capital and main business center. The main port of Wales is Milford Haven. It is one of the leading oil terminals of Britain and an important oil refining center. In the north-west is the district known as Snowdonia, where the Snowdonia National park is situated. Sheep raising is the main occupation of the population.

6) Scotland is divided into 3 parts: the Scottish Highlands, the Southern Uplands and the Central Lowlands. The first two are thinly populated while the Central Lowlands contain about 80 per cent of its people. The Central Lowlands are the industrial heart of Scotland, while the Glasgow region is the most important area of industrial activity. Glasgow is Scotland’s most populous city and third largest in the British Isles. Textile and clothing production continue to be important, and carpets are among the woolen goods. Food products, furniture and office equipment are also manufactured. An activity which is extremely important in Scotland’s export trade is Scotch whisky. Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland though it is smaller in size than Glasgow. It is one of the chief centers of brewing in Britain. Paper manufacture, printing and publishing are important because Edinburgh is a university city. In the Highlands Aberdeen is the most important city. The seas around Scotland are rich in fish and Aberdeen remains an important center of the fishing industry.

7) N.I. is a unique region within the UK. N.I. has one of the largest concentrations of man-made fiber production in Western Europe. Textile manufacture is concentrated not only in Belfast, but in several smaller towns nearby. The manufacture of clothing and footwear is also developed in N.I. Londonderry is the second major town in N.I. Belfast is the main administrative economic and cultural center of N.I. It is the province’s main port. Belfast is a major center of textile manufacture, shipbuilding, aircraft production, electrical engineering and food production.



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