[194] There are a further 206.5 miles (332.3 km) of track in Northern Ireland, owned and operated by Northern Ireland Railways. In 2007 the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, pledged to hold a public referendum based on certain tests he set as Chancellor of the Exchequer. [50], In the 18th century the UK was the first country to industrialise,[51][52][53] and during the 19th century it had a dominant role in the global economy,[54] accounting for 9.1% of the world's GDP in 1870. Excluding the effects of North Sea oil and gas (which is classified in official statistics as extra-regio), England has the highest gross value added (GVA) and Wales the lowest of the UK's constituent countries. [181][182][183][184] According to a Deutsche Bank study published in March 2015, Britain was attracting circa one billion pounds of capital inflows a month not recorded by official statistics, up to 40 percent probably originating from Russia, which implies misreporting by financial institutions, sophisticated tax avoidance, and the UK's "safe-haven" reputation.[185]. Are you interested in testing our corporate solutions? Large increases in export prices of oil and aircraft drove the narrowing of the total trade deficit; removing the effect of inflation, the total trade deficit widened £0.3 billion to £6.5 billion in the three months to November 2018. In 2015, employment was at its highest since records began,[97] and GDP growth had become the fastest in the Group of Seven (G7) and Europe,[98] but workforce productivity was the worst since the 1820s, with any growth attributed to a fall in working hours. The total trade deficit widened £4.1 billion in the 12 months to November 2018 due mainly to a £4.4 billion narrowing in the trade in services surplus. [150][151] In 2007 exports of pharmaceutical products from the UK totalled £14.6 billion, creating a trade surplus in pharmaceutical products of £4.3 billion. Leeds is the UK's largest centre for business and financial services outside London,[175][176][177] and the largest centre for legal services in the UK after London. [128], In the UK the majority of the healthcare sector consists of the state funded and operated National Health Service (NHS), which accounts for over 80% of all healthcare spending in the UK and has a workforce of around 1.7 million, making it the largest employer in Europe, and putting it amongst the largest employers in the world. [173], Several other major UK cities have large financial sectors and related services. The economy of the United Kingdom is a highly developed social market[34][35] and market-orientated economy. [117], In March 2020, in response to the coronavirus pandemic, a temporary ban was imposed on non-essential business and travel in the UK. Research by the ONS has shown a rise in independent stores' market share in 2020, rising from 1.6% in February have 2.6% in March. [76] This trend continued for most of the 1980s, with newer industries and the service sector enjoying significant growth. 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