United Kingdom Basic Information

By | July 21, 2022

Basic information about the territory

United Kingdom Basic Information

Subchapters:

  • System of governance and political tendencies in the country
  • Foreign policy of the country
  • Population

The system of governance and political tendencies in the country

Country name: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland The United Kingdom (UK) includes Great Britain (England, Scotland, Wales), Northern Ireland and adjacent islands (Western Isles, Orkney Islands, Shetland Islands, Isles of Scilly, Isle of Wight, Isle of Anglesey).

The United Kingdom (UK) is a constitutional monarchy with a bicameral Parliament; Lower House (House of Commons), Upper House (House of Lords). Executive power belongs to the government headed by the prime minister, who is usually the leader of the strongest parliamentary party. The head of state has been Queen Elizabeth II since 1952, who is also the formal head of government and justice, head of the Church of England and commander-in-chief of all the armed forces of the United Kingdom.

The United Kingdom consists of four constituent countries – England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. With the exception of England, which is administered directly by central institutions, the other three countries enjoy varying degrees of autonomy, expanded in the 20th century in the process of so-called devolution. The British crown also has sovereignty over the so-called crown dependencies, such as the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey. These countries belong to the British monarch, but are not considered part of the United Kingdom, nor were they part of the European Union. However, the British Parliament has the right to legislate for the dependencies and the British government manages their foreign relations and defence. The UK also has 14 overseas territories around the world that are not considered part of the UK. Check computerminus to learn more about United Kingdom political system.

The main political parties in the UK are the Conservative Party, the Labor Party, the Scottish National Party and the Liberal Democrats. In the snap election on 12 December 2019, the Conservative Party won 365 of the 650 seats in the British Parliament, improving its position compared to the previous election. The obtained strong mandate enabled Boris Johnson to complete the exit of the country from the EU in the first place. In the local elections in May 2022, the Conservative Party weakened.

The current composition of the British government (as of 9/5/2022)

  • Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury and Secretary of State: Boris Johnson
  • Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Justice: Dominic Raab
  • Finance Minister: Rishi Sunak
  • Minister for Foreign Affairs, Commonwealth Affairs and International Development; Minister for Women and Equal Opportunities: Liz Truss
  • Home Minister: Priti Patel
  • Defense Secretary: Ben Wallace
  • Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster: Steve Barcley
  • Minister for Balancing Regional Gaps, Housing and Communities, Minister for Intergovernmental Affairs: Michael Gove
  • Health and Social Affairs Minister: Sajid Javid
  • Minister of Economy, Energy and Industrial Strategy: Kwasi Kwarteng
  • Minister for COP26: Alok Sharma
  • Minister for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade: Anne-Marie Trevelyan
  • Minister for Work and Pensions: Thérèse Coffey
  • Minister of Education: Nadhim Zahawi
  • Minister for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: George Eustice
  • Transport Minister: Grant Shapps
  • Minister for Northern Ireland: Brandon Lewis
  • Minister for Scotland: Alistair Jack
  • Minister for Wales: Simon Hart
  • Leader of the House of Lords: Natalie Jessica Evans,
  • Minister for Digitalisation, Culture, Media and Sport: Nadine Dorries
  • Minister without Portfolio: Oliver Dowden
  • Deputy for Brexit Opportunities and Government Effectiveness: Jacob Rees-Mogg
  • Chief Secretary to the Treasury: Simon Clarke
  • Lord Chancellor: Mark Spencer

Foreign policy of the country

Historically, the United Kingdom was the world’s most powerful power, especially during the so-called “Pax Britannica” – a period of absolutely unrivaled supremacy and unprecedented international peace in the mid-18th century, from which it still draws in its foreign policy relations. Gradually, the UK’s dominant role in global affairs began to diminish.

However, the UK remains a major power and a permanent member of the UN Security Council, a founding member of the G7, G8, G20, NATO, OECD, WTO, Council of Europe, OSCE and the Commonwealth of Nations. The UK was a member state of the European Union (and its predecessors) from 1973 until the EU on 31 January 2020. The new relationship is governed by the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement from 1/1/2021 (after the end of the transition period) ( Trade and Cooperation Agreement, TCA). Check relationshipsplus for United Kingdom defense and foreign policy.

After leaving the EU, Britain is trying to create a so-called Global Britain, which permeates all policies and national strategies. In March 2021, the new military-political strategy Global Britain in a Competitive Age: the Integrated Review ofSecurity, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy, was published, which confirms the country’s focus on regions outside Europe – especially the Indo-Pacific region and Africa. After leaving the EU, Britain is seeking trade deals with other global partners, the first of which was signed on 11 September 2020 with Japan. Britain is also seeking access to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which it promises will make it easier for British firms to enter the Asia-Pacific region and strengthen supply chains. List of negotiated trade agreements and ongoing negotiations of Great Britain.

The EU still remains the UK’s most important trading partner, and the EU -UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement is vital for the country. The UK’s foreign diplomatic relations are managed by the Department for Foreign Affairs and International Development (FCDO).

Population

  • Population: 67.08 million (June 2021)
  • The share of the economically active population is 78.6% (April 2022)
  • Average annual population growth: 0.47% (2021 increase over 2020)

The UK population grew at its slowest pace in almost two decades in mid-2020. The combination of Brexit and the covid-19 pandemic is likely to cause the first net annual outflow of migrants since 1993 (ONS). The population in June 2021 consisted of 67.1 million people, but compared to the previous year, this was the weakest annual growth since 2001 (0.4%). The population is aging, the age structure is moving towards older age. By 2050, one in four people in the UK is predicted to be aged 65 and over, up from around one in five in 2019. This is the result of a combination of falling birth rates and longer life expectancy.

The total population density of Great Britain was one of the highest in the world in May 2020 – 275 people per square kilometer, which is mainly due to the high population density in England, namely in the south-eastern part of England, where almost one third of the population lives. Of these, about 8 million live directly in London, whose population density exceeds 5,700 inhabitants per square kilometer.

Demographic composition (July 2019):

  • 0-14 years (17.59% of the total)
  • 15-24 years (11.71%)
  • 25-54 years old (40.29%)
  • 55–64 years (12.22%)
  • 65 and over (18.9%)

Nationality composition

  • English (84.3%)
  • Scots (8.2%)
  • Welsh (4.7%)
  • Irish (2.8%)

Religious composition (July 2019):

  • Christians (59.5%)
  • atheists (25.7%)
  • Muslims (4.4%)
  • Hindus (1.3%)
  • other religions (2%)
  • unspecified (7.2%)