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United Kingdom – Important Facts

United Kingdom is an island country spanning an archipelago including Great Britain, located in Western Europe comprising England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, the North Sea, the English Channel, and the Irish Sea. It lies near vital North Atlantic sea lanes and is only 35 km from France and linked by tunnel under the English Channel. The geography is mostly rugged hills and low mountains. The government system is constitutional monarchy and a Commonwealth realm; the chief of state is the queen, and the head of government is the prime minister. United Kingdom has an advanced open market<market economy in which the prices of goods and services are determined in a free price system. United Kingdom is a member of the European Union (EU).

In stark contrast to the early 2000s, the UK had one of the least productive workforces among the Group of Seven (G7), Ireland, Spain, Belgium, and the Netherlands in 2014. Of these countries, only Japan had lower economic output per hour worked. Output in the UK was 18% below the average for the rest of the G7. The Office for Budget Responsibility forecast in 2014 that individuals would have to borrow £360 billion (net, and excluding mortgages) over the next five years if the economy was to grow at the rate expected by the Government, taking unsecured debt as a proportion of household income to a record high of 55% by 2020. Unsecured household debt rose by 24% between 2011 and 2015, adding to widespread questions over the sustainability of the economic recovery. The Bank of England insisted there was no cause for alarm, despite having said two years earlier that the economic recovery was “neither balanced nor sustainable”. Between 2009 and 2015, the UK’s current account deficit rose from 3% to a record high of 5.2% of GDP (£96.2bn), the highest by GDP in the developed world.

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.

Important Details

  • Country ISO3 : GBR
  • Country Code : 826
  • Income Group : High income
  • Lending Category : NA
  • Region : Europe & Central Asia
  • Currency Unit: Pound sterling
  • WTO Member : Yes
  • Trade organisations : European Union (preparing to exit), OECD, AIIB and World Trade Organization
  • world rank : 10
  • Regional Ranking : 4th in Europe