United Kingdom in 1980

The United Kingdom in 1980

The World Factbook


243,978 km2; 30% arable, 50% meadow and pasture, 12% waste or urban, 7% forested, 1% inland water

Land boundaries: 360 km


Limits of territorial waters (claimed): 3 nm (fishing 200 nm)

Coastline: 12,429 km


Population: 56,095,000 (July 1982), average annual growth rate 0.1%

Nationality: noun—Briton(s), British (collective pl.); adjective–British

Ethnic divisions: 81.5% English, 9.6% Scottish, 2.4% Irish, 1.9% Welsh, 1.8% Ulster, 0.8% other; West Indian, Indian, Pakistani over 2%

Religion: 27.0 million Church of England, 5.3 million Roman Catholic, 2.0 million Presbyterian, 760,000 Methodist, 450,000 Jews (registered)

Language: English, Welsh (about 26% of population of Wales), Scottish form of Gaelic (about 60,000 in Scotland)

Literacy: 98% to 99%

Labor force: (1978) 26 million, 12.4% unemployed (October 1980)

Organized labor: 40% of labor force


Official name: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Type: constitutional monarchy

Capital: London

Political subdivisions: 635 parliamentary constituencies

Legal system: common law tradition with early Roman and modern continental influences; no judicial review of Acts of Parliament; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations

National holiday: Celebration of the birthday of the Queen, 16 June

Branches: legislative authority resides in Parliament; executive authority lies with collectively responsible Cabinet led by Prime Minister; House of Lords is supreme judicial authority and highest court of appeal

Government leader: Chief of State, Queen ELIZABETH II; Head of Government, Prime Minister Margaret Thacher

Suffrage: Universal over age 18

Elections: at the discretion of Prime Minister, but must be held before the expiration of a five-year electoral mandate; last election 3 May 1979

Political parties and leaders: Conservative, Margaret Thatcher; Labor, Michael Foot; Liberal, David Steel; Social Democratic, joint leadership at present; Communist, Gordan McLennan; Scottish National, Gordon Wilson; Plaid Cymru, Dafydd Wigley

Voting strength: (1979 election) Conservative 339 seats (43.9%), Labor 268 seats (36.9%), Liberal 11 seats (13.8%), Scottish National 2 seats (1.6%), Plaid Cymru 2 seats (0.4%), other 13 seats (2.8%); (1981 byelections) Conservative 336 seats, Labor 250 seats, Liberal 12 seats, Social Democratic 28 seats, Scottish National 2 seats, Plaid Cymru 2 seats, others 13 seats

Communists: 29,000

Other political or pressure groups: Trades Union Congress, Confederation of British Industry, National Farmers Union, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament

Member of: ADB, CENTO, Colombo Plan, Council of Europe, DAC, EC, EEC, ELDO, ESRO, EURATOM, FAO, GATT, IAEA, IBRD, ICAC, ICAO, ICES, ICO, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IHO, ILO, International Lead and Zinc Study Group, IMCO, IMF, IOOC, IPU, ISO, ITC, ITU, IWC—International Whaling Commission, IWC—International Wheat Council, NATO, OECD, UN, UNESCO, UPU, WEU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WSG


GNP: $518.7 billion (1980), $9,280 per capita; 60.3% consumption, 17.4% investment, 21.6% government; −1.5% stockbuilding, 2.2% net foreign balance, real growth −1.4% (1980)

Agriculture: mixed farming predominates; main products—wheat, barley, potatoes, sugar beets, livestock, dairy products; 53.7% self-sufficient; dependent on imports for more than half of consumption of refined sugar, butter, oils and fats, and bacon and ham; caloric intake, 2,260 calories per day per capita, 1978

Fishing: catch 710,500 metric tons (1980 est.); 1980 exports $359 million, imports $812 million

Major industries: machinery and transport equipment, metals, food processing, paper and paper products, textiles, chemicals, clothing

Crude steel: 11.3 million metric tons produced (1980), 390 kg per capita; 30.9 million metric tons capacity (1977)

Electric power: 82,000,000 kW capacity (1980); 284.862 billion kWh produced (1980), 5,090 kWh per capita

Exports: $110.1 billion (f.o.b., 1980); machinery, transport equipment, chemicals, metals, nonmetallic mineral manufactures, foodstuffs, petroleum

Imports: $116.1 billion (c.i.f., 1980); foodstuffs, petroleum, machinery, crude materials, chemicals, nonferrous metals

Major trade partners: 42.5% EC, 11.4% Commonwealth, 11.0% West Germany, 9.8% US, 7.8% France

Aid: donor—bilateral economic aid authorized (ODA and OOF), $8,956 million (1970-78)

Budget (national and local government): FY82 (proj.) revenues, 105.5 billion pounds; expenditures, 115.5 billion pounds; deficit including nationalized industries, 9.5 billion pounds

Monetary conversion rate: 1 pound sterling=US$2.3263 (average January-December 1980)

Fiscal year: 1 April-31 March


Railroads: Great Britain—17,754 km total; British Railways (BR) operates 17,735 km standard gauge (1.435 m) (3,718 km electrified, 12,708 km double or multiple track), and 19 km 0.597-meter gauge; several additional small standard gauge and narrow gauge lines are privately owned; Northern Ireland Railways (NIR) operates 357 km 1.600-meter gauge, 190 km double track

Highways: United Kingdom, 361,491 km total; Great Britain, 337,992 km paved (including 2,485 km limited-access divided highway); Northern Ireland, 23,499 km (22,907 paved, 592 km gravel)

Inland waterways: 3,219 km publicly owned; 605 km major commercial routes

Pipelines: 933 km crude oil, almost all insignificant; 2,907 km refined products; 1,770 km natural gas

Ports: 23 major, 350 minor

Civil air: 570 major transport aircraft, including 5 leased in and 16 leased out

Airfields: 630 total, 390 usable; 253 with permanent-surface runways; 1 with runways over 3,659 m, 38 with runways 2,440-3,659 m, 145 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: modern, efficient domestic and international system; 26.8 million telephones (48.0 per 100 popl.); excellent countrywide broadcast; 97 AM, 330 FM, and 1,680 TV stations; 31 coaxial submarine cables; 2 earth satellite stations with a total of 5 antennas


Military manpower: males 15-49, 13,767,000; 11,680,000 fit for military service; no conscription; 476,000 reach military age (18) annually

Military budget: proposed for the fiscal year ending 31 March 1982, $24.1 billion; about 15% of central government budget

The World Factbook (1982)
by the Central Intelligence Agency

Categories: CIVIL

Tagged as: ,