Though a relatively small nation, United Kingdom is today one of the most powerful trading countries and financial centres with its capitalist economy [F1] [ES1].
Energy. The country has always been rich in coal reserves as well as in natural gas and oil. But when Mrs Thatcher was Prime Minister, several coal pits were closed down in the Northern part of the country, with a subsequent higher level of unemployment in these areas. Despite these problems, UK is amongst the first five producers of oil in the world, thanks to the reserves in the North Sea.
Agriculture. British agriculture is intensive and very efficient as it covers around 60% of the country’s needs. The main agricultural products are cereals, potatoes, oilseed and various vegetables. As far as animal farming is concerned, we have cattle, sheep , poultry and fish. After the 1990’s scandalous problem of BSE (the so-called “mad-cow disease”), the meat industry has lost many customers and as a consequence, a lot of money. But now the problem seems to have been solved, since British cattle is now exported to most European countries again.
Industry. With the industrial revolution in the nineteenth century, Britain was one of the first countries in the world to build a strong economic power. But it was also one of the first to see a decline in its traditional industries , especially in the last years with the arrival of new countries on the globalised market. Yet, despite this crisis, British industry employs almost 20% of the total workers and has its strongest points in the chemical, computer and scientific production.
Services.Services (banking, insurance, education, business services, etc) employ the largest part of the labour force.