And, finally, the CIA Factbook summary:
The UK, a leading trading power and financial center, is the third largest economy in Europe after Germany and France. Agriculture is intensive, highly mechanized, and efficient by European standards, producing about 60% of food needs with less than 2% of the labor force. The UK has large coal, natural gas, and oil resources, but its oil and natural gas reserves are declining; the UK has been a net importer of energy since 2005. Services, particularly banking, insurance, and business services, are key drivers of British GDP growth. Manufacturing, meanwhile, has declined in importance but still accounts for about 10% of economic output.
In 2008, the global financial crisis hit the economy particularly hard, due to the importance of its financial sector. Falling home prices, high consumer debt, and the global economic slowdown compounded Britain’s economic problems, pushing the economy into recession in the latter half of 2008 and prompting the then BROWN (Labour) government to implement a number of measures to stimulate the economy and stabilize the financial markets. Facing burgeoning public deficits and debt levels, in 2010 the CAMERON-led coalition government (between Conservatives and Liberal Democrats) initiated an austerity program, which has continued under the new Conservative majority government. However, the deficit still remains one of the highest in the G7, standing at 5.1% of GDP as of mid-2015. London intends to eliminate its deficit by 2020, primarily through additional cuts to public spending and welfare benefits. It has also pledged to lower its corporation tax from 20% to 18% by 2020.
In 2012, weak consumer spending and subdued business investment weighed on the economy, however, GDP grew 1.7% in 2013 and 2.8% in 2014, accelerating because of greater consumer spending and a recovering housing market. As of late 2015, the Bank of England is examining when to begin raising interest rates from historically low levels while being cautious not to damage economic growth. While the UK is one of the fastest growing economies in the G7, economists are concerned about the potential negative impact if the UK votes to leave the EU. The UK has an extensive trade relationship with other EU members through its access to the single market and economic observers have warned an exit could jeopardize its position as the central location for European financial services.
Labor force – by occupation:
services: 83.5% (2014 est.)
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