The United Kingdom (UK) is one of the preferred destinations for regional hubs and global headquarters. The country’s pro-business regulatory environment, educated and productive workforce, excellent institutions and international setting all contribute to its appeal as an investment destination for businesses.
Economy of the United Kingdom
The economy of the United Kingdom is a highly developed social market and market-orientated economy. It is the fifth-largest national economy in the world measured by nominal gross domestic product (GDP), ninth-largest by purchasing power parity (PPP), and twenty second-largest by GDP per capita, comprising 3.3% of world GDP.
In 2019, the UK was the fifth-largest exporter in the world and the fifth-largest goods importer. It also had the second-largest inward foreign direct investment, and the third-largest outward foreign direct investment. The UK is one of the most globalised economies, and it is composed of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. With more than 52% of its imports and its exports, the European Union, including its 27 members states, remains in 2020 one notable trade partner from the UK.
The service sector dominates, contributing around 80% of GDP; the financial services industry is particularly important, and London is the second-largest financial centre in the world. Edinburgh is ranked 17th in the world, and 6th in Europe for its financial services industry in 2020. Britain’s aerospace industry is the second-largest national aerospace industry. Its pharmaceutical industry, the tenth-largest in the world, plays an important role in the economy. Of the world’s 500 largest companies, 26 are headquartered in the UK. The economy is boosted by North Sea oil and gas production; its reserves were estimated at 2.8 billion barrels in 2016, although it has been a net importer of oil since 2005. There are significant regional variations in prosperity, with South East England and North East Scotland being the richest areas per capita. The size of London’s economy makes it the largest city by GDP per capita in Europe.
The currency of the UK is the pound sterling, which is the world’s fourth-largest reserve currency after the United States dollar, the Euro and the Japanese yen, and is also one of the 10 most-valued currencies in the world.
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Taxation in the United Kingdom
Income tax forms the single largest source of revenues collected by the government. The second largest source of government revenue is National Insurance Contributions. The third largest source of government revenues is value added tax (VAT), and the fourth-largest is corporation tax.
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