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I. Pre-reading task. Before you read the text, look at the title

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Before you read the text, look at the title. What do you expect the text to be about?

II. Read the text to fulfil the tasks

The United Kingdom has the fourth largest economy in the world, the second largest in Europe, and is a member of the European Union. Its capital, London, is the largest financial centre in the world.

The UK economy is one of the strongest in Europe; inflation, interest rates, and unemployment remain low. Growth is now at 3.0% per annum, which is higher than that of France, Germany and many other European countries.

The UK has large coal, natural gas, and oil reserves; primary energy production accounts for 10% of GDP, one of the highest shares of any industrial nation.

Due to the North Sea oil during the 1990s the UK became a net hydrocarbon exporter and the second largest producer of oil in Western Europe after Norway. Around about 80% of the UK electricity is currently generated from fossil fuels, nuclear power. The UK is the world's 8th greatest producer of carbon dioxide emissions, producing around 2.3% of the total generated from fossil fuels.

Service industries, particularly banking, insurance, and business services, account for the largest proportion of GDP and employ around 70% of the working population.

Manufacturing continues to decline in importance. The UK was left with a very small domestic manufacturing sector. However British companies world wide continued to be present in the sector through foreign investment or through the closure and movement of factories to Eastern Europe and the Far East in search of lower costs.

Tourism is the 6th largest industry in the UK, contributing 76 billion pounds to the economy. It employs 1,800,000 full-time equivalent people — 6.1% of the working population.

Agriculture is intensive, highly mechanized, and efficient by European standards, producing about 60% of food needs with only 1% of the labour force. It contributes around 2% of GDP. Around two thirds of production is devoted to livestock, one third to crops. The main crops that are grown are wheat, barley, oats, potatoes, sugar beets, fruits and vegetables. The livestock that is raised is cattle and sheep. The GDP from the farming sector is argued by some politicians to be a small return on the subsidies given.


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