The economy of great britain

Lead-in:

1. output– продукція

2. employment– зайнятість

3. recession – занепад

4. rate of inflation – інфляція

5. income tax rate – податкова ставка

6. turnover – обіг (оборот)

7. inward investment – внутрішні інвестиції

8. merger – злиття

Britain's economy is based primarily on private enterprise, which accounts for 75% of outputand nearly 70% of employment. Just over 2% of the British workforce is engaged in agriculture, a lower proportion than in any other leading industrial country. Services contribute a growing proportion of production - 65%, while manufacturing accounts for 21%. By successfully exploiting oil and natural gas from the North Sea, Britain has become self-sufficient in energy and expects to remain so for some years. Exports, mainly to other EC countries, are equivalent to over half of domestic oil production.

International trade plays a vital role in Britain's economy. Exports of goods and services make up around 25% of national output. From 1981 to 1989 the economy experienced eight years of growth, but in 1990 with the recessionin Britain and other major industrialised nations, growth slowed to about 1%. The rate of inflation went down in the early 1980s, went up in 1988, and dropped again in 1992. The unemployment rate in the country is about 10% of the workforce. Growth of manufacturing productivity in Britain is generally faster than in all other leading industrialised countries.

The Government economic strategy is centred on keeping the rate of inflation down, within a range of 1 to 4%. As part of this strategy, public spending and borrowing is tightly controlled. At the same time government policy tries to improve the working of markets and promote enterprise and efficiency. A substantial amount of activity has been transferred from the public to the private sector through privatisation and contracting out. Since 1979, forty six major businesses have been privatized, including British Gas, British Telecom and British Steel.

The Government tries to take measures to reduce personal and corporate income tax rates. Industrial relations have been put on a more secure legal footing, and training opportunities have been expanded. Small businesses employ more than a third of private sector workforce and are responsible for one-sixth of total turnover.

The Government provides assistance and guidance to help with problems affecting small companies. Britain is considered to have an attractive location for inward investmentbecause of its membership of the EC. Though markets in Britain operate as freely as possible, Government regulates monopolies, mergers and anti-competitive practices.

Ø Questions for comprehension check-up and discussion:

1. What is Britain’s economy based on?

2. Is international trade important for Great Britain?

3. Was the rate of unemployment high in Great Britain?

4. What is the Government economic strategy centered on?

5. How does the Government try to reduce income tax rates?