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British Economy

The United Kingdom is one of the world’s largest exporters of manufactured goods per head of population. For every person employed in agriculture eleven people are employed in mining, manufacturing and building.

Apart from coal and iron ore Britain has very few natural resources. Its agriculture provides only half the food it needs. Most of if the raw materials such as oil and various metals (copper zinc, uranium ore and others) have to be imported. Britain also has to import timber, cotton, fruit and farm products.

Britain used to be richly forested, but most of the forests were cut down to make more room for cultivation. The greater part of land is used for cattle and sheep breeding, and pig raising. Among the crops grown on the farms are wheat, barley and oats. The fields are mainly in the eastern part of the country. Most of the farms are small. Farms tend to be bigger where the soil is less fertile.

Britain produces high quality expensive goods, which has always been characteristic of its industry. A shortage of raw materials, as well as the high cost of production makes it unprofitable for British industry to produce semi-finished goods or cheap articles. Britain mostly produces articles, requiring skilled labour, precision instruments, chemicals. Britain high quality consumer goods and articles made of various kinds of synthetic (man-made) materials.

The original basis of British industry was coal mining, and the early factories grew up not far from the main mining areas.

Glasgow and Newcastle became great centres of engineering and shipbuilding . Lancashire produced cotton goods and Yorkshire woollens , with Sheffield concentrating on iron and steel. Birmingham developed light engineering. There appeared a tendency for industry and population to move to the south, particularly to the London area. Britain’s industry is now widely dispersed. Great progress was made in the development of new industries, such as the aircraft, automobile, electronic industries and others. A number of atomic power reactors were made.

Great emphasis was made on the development of the war industry .


1. manufactured goods – промислові товари

2. per head of population – на душу населення

3. apart of smth. – крім чогось

4. used to be smth. – був кимось колись

5. used to do smth. – робив щось колись

6. to make room for smth. – звільняти простір (місце) для чогось

7. to breed smth. – розводити, вирощувати (тварин)

8. to tend to do smth. – мати тенденцію робити щось

9. article – виріб, товар, предмет виробництва

10. to require smth. (doing smth.) – вимагати, потребувати чогось (робити щось)

11. precision instruments – точні інструменти

12. to be widely dispersed – широко розповсюджуватись

13. to make emphasis on smth. – надавати чомусь особливого значення , приділяти комусь особливу увагу