England’s business sector remains optimistic despite repercussions of the European (and global) financial crisis. The United Kingdom’s largest economy has endured the turmoil better than most thanks to a pro-business government, competitive tax rates (compared to much of Europe), and a diverse economic base. Key England business sectors include agri-foods, mining and energy, manufacturing, construction, information technology, financial services and tourism.
agri-foods – Highly mechanized, the agricultural sector produces roughly 60% of England’s food needs with only 2% of the labor force. Around two thirds of production is devoted to livestock, and one third to arable crops (wheat, barley, oats, potatoes, sugar beets, etc.). In addition to agriculture, England is one of the world’s leading fishing nations, harvesting an assortment of species. On the back of agriculture and fishing is a diverse food and beverage processing industry, the largest industry within England’s manufacturing sector.
mining and energy – England is rich in different naturally occurring resources such as coal, petroleum, natural gas, tin, limestone, iron ore, salt, clay, chalk, gypsum, lead and silica. Oil and natural gas are predominately extracted from the North Sea and Wytch Farm (onshore oil field from the county of Dorset in southern England).
manufacturing – although manufacturing has lost its lead role (to the service sector), it still accounts for roughly one quarter of GDP. England is a leader in the chemical and pharmaceutical sectors and in key technical industries like aerospace and defense.
construction – The only major secondary industry that has seen growth in recent years is the construction industry – fuelled by growth in the services, administrative and financial sectors.
information technology (IT) – Information technology is a huge driver of business growth in England. Many small, medium and large size English enterprises lead the sector in fields ranging from consultancy, gaming and networking, to data processing, hosting and telecommunications.
financial services – The financial services sector plays a very large role in the English economy. London, England’s capital, is home to the many banks and insurance companies, the Central Bank of the UK (Bank of England), commodity and futures exchanges, and the London Stock Exchange (largest stock exchange in Europe). Not only is it the financial center of England, but one of the largest in the world (home to approximately one fifth of Europe’s largest corporations).
tourism – Beautiful countryside, vibrant cities, rich history and culture attract millions of visitors to England each year. In monetary terms, tourism in 2009 contributed £96.7 billion to the English economy, or 8.6% of GDP (visitbritain.org).