Britain is one of the most highly industrialised countries in the world: for every person employed in agriculture 12 are employed in industry. The original base of British industry was coal-mining, iron and steel and textiles. Today the most productive sectors include high-tech industries, chemicals, finance and the service sectors, especially banking, insurance and tourism.

Birmingham developed engineering, chemicals, electronics and car manufacture. Cambridge is famous for software engineering (making programs for computers) and bio-chemical and bio-genetic products. Cattle-farming is the speciality of the west of England, Northern Ireland and Scotland. Wheat and fruit are widely grown in the south-east of England. Near the east and north-east coast of England and Scotland there are vast reserves of oil and gas. The UK is a member of OPEC — the Oil Producers and Exporters Cartel.

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