HMS Warrior, a museum ship docked in Portsmouth Harbor, England. Completed in 1861, she was the first armor-plated, iron-hulled warship built for the British Royal Navy. In its day, Warrior was the largest, fastest, most heavily armed and armored warship in the world. She was powered by sail or steam-driven propeller, or both.
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Introduction

Background

The United Kingdom has historically played a leading role in developing parliamentary democracy and in advancing literature and science. At its zenith in the 19th century, the British Empire stretched over one-fourth of the earth's surface. The first half of the 20th century saw two World Wars seriously deplete the UK's strength and the Irish Republic withdraw from the union. The second half witnessed the dismantling of the Empire and the UK rebuilding itself into a modern and prosperous European nation. As one of five permanent members of the UN Security Council and a founding member of NATO and the Commonwealth of Nations, the UK pursues a global approach to foreign policy. The Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales, and the Northern Ireland Assembly were established in 1998.

The UK was an active member of the EU after its accession in 1973, although it chose to remain outside the Economic and Monetary Union. However, motivated in part by frustration at a remote bureaucracy in Brussels and massive migration into the country, UK citizens on 23 June 2016 voted by 52 to 48 percent to leave the EU. The UK became the first country to depart the EU on 31 January 2020, after prolonged negotiations on EU-UK economic and security relationships had been hammered out.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.

Geography

Location

Western Europe, islands - including the northern one-sixth of the island of Ireland - between the North Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea; northwest of France

Geographic coordinates

54 00 N, 2 00 W

Area

total: 243,610 sq km

land: 241,930 sq km

water: 1,680 sq km

note 1: the percentage area breakdown of the four UK countries is: England 53%, Scotland 32%, Wales 9%, and Northern Ireland 6%

note 2: includes Rockall and the Shetland Islands, which are part of Scotland

Area - comparative

twice the size of Pennsylvania; slightly smaller than Oregon

Area comparison map
Area comparison map

Land boundaries

total: 499 km

border countries (1): Ireland 499 km

Coastline

12,429 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

continental shelf: as defined in continental shelf orders or in accordance with agreed upon boundaries

exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm

Climate

temperate; moderated by prevailing southwest winds over the North Atlantic Current; more than one-half of the days are overcast

Terrain

mostly rugged hills and low mountains; level to rolling plains in east and southeast

Elevation

highest point: Ben Nevis 1,345 m

lowest point: The Fens -4 m

mean elevation: 162 m

Natural resources

coal, petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, lead, zinc, gold, tin, limestone, salt, clay, chalk, gypsum, potash, silica sand, slate, arable land

Land use

agricultural land: 71% (2018 est.)

arable land: 25.1% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.2% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 45.7% (2018 est.)

forest: 11.9% (2018 est.)

other: 17.1% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

950 sq km (2012)

Population distribution

the core of the population lies in and around London, with significant clusters found in central Britain around Manchester and Liverpool, in the Scottish lowlands between Edinburgh and Glasgow, southern Wales in and around Cardiff, and far eastern Northern Ireland centered on Belfast

Natural hazards

winter windstorms; floods

Geography - note

lies near vital North Atlantic sea lanes; only 35 km from France and linked by tunnel under the English Channel (the Channel Tunnel or Chunnel); because of heavily indented coastline, no location is more than 125 km from tidal waters

People and Society

Population

67,791,400 (2022 est.) United Kingdom

constituent countries by percentage of total population:
England 84.3%
Scotland 8.1%
Wales 4.7%
Northern Ireland 2.8%

Nationality

noun: Briton(s), British (collective plural)

adjective: British

Ethnic groups

White 87.2%, Black/African/Caribbean/black British 3%, Asian/Asian British: Indian 2.3%, Asian/Asian British: Pakistani 1.9%, mixed 2%, other 3.7% (2011 est.)

Languages

English

note: the following are recognized regional languages: Scots (about 30% of the population of Scotland), Scottish Gaelic (about 60,000 speakers in Scotland), Welsh (about 20% of the population of Wales), Irish (about 10% of the population of Northern Ireland), Cornish (some 2,000 to 3,000 people in Cornwall) (2012 est.)

Religions

Christian (includes Anglican, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist) 59.5%, Muslim 4.4%, Hindu 1.3%, other 2%, unspecified 7.2%, none 25.7% (2011 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 17.63% (male 5,943,435/female 5,651,780)

15-24 years: 11.49% (male 3,860,435/female 3,692,398)

25-54 years: 39.67% (male 13,339,965/female 12,747,598)

55-64 years: 12.73% (male 4,139,378/female 4,234,701)

65 years and over: 18.48% (male 5,470,116/female 6,681,311) (2020 est.)

2022 population pyramid
2022 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 57.1

youth dependency ratio: 27.8

elderly dependency ratio: 29.3

potential support ratio: 3.4 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 40.6 years

male: 39.6 years

female: 41.7 years (2020 est.)

Population growth rate

0.53% (2022 est.)

Birth rate

10.79 births/1,000 population (2022 est.)

Death rate

9.07 deaths/1,000 population (2022 est.)

Net migration rate

3.59 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2022 est.)

Population distribution

the core of the population lies in and around London, with significant clusters found in central Britain around Manchester and Liverpool, in the Scottish lowlands between Edinburgh and Glasgow, southern Wales in and around Cardiff, and far eastern Northern Ireland centered on Belfast

Urbanization

urban population: 84.4% of total population (2022)

rate of urbanization: 0.8% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Major urban areas - population

9.426 million LONDON (capital), 2.750 million Manchester, 2.626 million Birmingham, 1.902 million West Yorkshire, 1.681 million Glasgow, 944,000 Southampton/Portsmouth (2022)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1.03 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.73 male(s)/female

total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2022 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

29 years (2018 est.)

note: data represents England and Wales only

Maternal mortality ratio

7 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 3.82 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 4.27 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 3.35 deaths/1,000 live births (2022 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 81.94 years

male: 79.95 years

female: 84.04 years (2022 est.)

Total fertility rate

1.63 children born/woman (2022 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

76.1% (2010/12)

note: percent of women aged 16-49

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 100% of population

rural: 100% of population

total: 100% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

rural: 0% of population

total: 0% of population (2020 est.)

Current health expenditure

10.2% of GDP (2019)

Physicians density

3 physicians/1,000 population (2020)

Hospital bed density

2.5 beds/1,000 population (2019)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 99.8% of population

rural: 99.8% of population

total: 99.8% of population

unimproved: urban: 0.2% of population

rural: 0.2% of population

total: 0.2% of population (2020 est.)

Major infectious diseases

respiratory diseases: Covid-19 (see note) (2020)

note: widespread ongoing transmission of a respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is occurring throughout the UK; as of 18 August 2022, the UK has reported a total of 23,461,239 cases of COVID-19 or 34,559.75 cumulative cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 population with a total of 187,018 cumulative deaths or a rate of 275.48 cumulative deaths per 100,000 population; as of 10 August 2022, 79.89% of the population has received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine; the US Department of Homeland Security has issued instructions requiring US passengers who have been in the UK to travel through select airports where the US Government has implemented enhanced screening procedures
note: on 18 November 2022, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an updated Travel Alert for polio in Europe; the United Kingdom is currently considered a high risk to travelers for circulating vaccine-derived polioviruses (cVDPV); vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV) is a strain of the weakened poliovirus that was initially included in oral polio vaccine (OPV) and that has changed over time and behaves more like the wild or naturally occurring virus; this means it can be spread more easily to people who are unvaccinated against polio and who come in contact with the stool or respiratory secretions, such as from a sneeze, of an “infected” person who received oral polio vaccine; the CDC recommends that before any international travel, anyone unvaccinated, incompletely vaccinated, or with an unknown polio vaccination status should complete the routine polio vaccine series; before travel to any high-risk destination, the CDC recommends that adults who previously completed the full, routine polio vaccine series receive a single, lifetime booster dose of polio vaccine

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 9.8 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 3.53 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 3.3 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 2.35 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 0.61 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

Tobacco use

total: 15.4% (2020 est.)

male: 17.3% (2020 est.)

female: 13.5% (2020 est.)

Child marriage

women married by age 18: 0.1% (2020 est.)

Education expenditures

5.2% of GDP (2018 est.)

Literacy

total population: NA

male: NA

female: NA

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 17 years

male: 17 years

female: 18 years (2019)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 11.2%

male: 13%

female: 9.2% (2019 est.)

Environment

Environment - current issues

air pollution improved but remains a concern, particularly in the London region; soil pollution from pesticides and heavy metals; decline in marine and coastal habitats brought on by pressures from housing, tourism, and industry

Environment - international agreements

party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Heavy Metals, Air Pollution-Multi-effect Protocol, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protection, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping-London Convention, Marine Dumping-London Protocol, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 2006, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 10.53 micrograms per cubic meter (2016 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 379.02 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 49.16 megatons (2020 est.)

Climate

temperate; moderated by prevailing southwest winds over the North Atlantic Current; more than one-half of the days are overcast

Land use

agricultural land: 71% (2018 est.)

arable land: 25.1% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.2% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 45.7% (2018 est.)

forest: 11.9% (2018 est.)

other: 17.1% (2018 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 84.4% of total population (2022)

rate of urbanization: 0.8% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Revenue from forest resources

forest revenues: 0.01% of GDP (2018 est.)

Revenue from coal

coal revenues: 0% of GDP (2018 est.)

Major infectious diseases

respiratory diseases: Covid-19 (see note) (2020)

note: widespread ongoing transmission of a respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is occurring throughout the UK; as of 18 August 2022, the UK has reported a total of 23,461,239 cases of COVID-19 or 34,559.75 cumulative cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 population with a total of 187,018 cumulative deaths or a rate of 275.48 cumulative deaths per 100,000 population; as of 10 August 2022, 79.89% of the population has received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine; the US Department of Homeland Security has issued instructions requiring US passengers who have been in the UK to travel through select airports where the US Government has implemented enhanced screening procedures
note: on 18 November 2022, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an updated Travel Alert for polio in Europe; the United Kingdom is currently considered a high risk to travelers for circulating vaccine-derived polioviruses (cVDPV); vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV) is a strain of the weakened poliovirus that was initially included in oral polio vaccine (OPV) and that has changed over time and behaves more like the wild or naturally occurring virus; this means it can be spread more easily to people who are unvaccinated against polio and who come in contact with the stool or respiratory secretions, such as from a sneeze, of an “infected” person who received oral polio vaccine; the CDC recommends that before any international travel, anyone unvaccinated, incompletely vaccinated, or with an unknown polio vaccination status should complete the routine polio vaccine series; before travel to any high-risk destination, the CDC recommends that adults who previously completed the full, routine polio vaccine series receive a single, lifetime booster dose of polio vaccine

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 31.567 million tons (2014 est.)

municipal solid waste recycled annually: 8,602,008 tons (2015 est.)

percent of municipal solid waste recycled: 27.3% (2015 est.)

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 6.227 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

industrial: 1.01 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

agricultural: 1.183 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

Total renewable water resources

147 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

Government

Country name

conventional long form: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; note - the island of Great Britain includes England, Scotland, and Wales

conventional short form: United Kingdom

abbreviation: UK

etymology: self-descriptive country name; the designation "Great Britain," in the sense of "Larger Britain," dates back to medieval times and was used to distinguish the island from "Little Britain," or Brittany in modern France; the name Ireland derives from the Gaelic "Eriu," the matron goddess of Ireland (goddess of the land)

Government type

parliamentary constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm

Capital

name: London

geographic coordinates: 51 30 N, 0 05 W

time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

time zone note: the time statements apply to the United Kingdom proper, not to its crown dependencies or overseas territories

etymology: the name derives from the Roman settlement of Londinium, established on the current site of London around A.D. 43; the original meaning of the name is uncertain

Administrative divisions

England: 24 two-tier counties, 32 London boroughs and 1 City of London or Greater London, 36 metropolitan districts, 59 unitary authorities (including 4 single-tier counties*);

two-tier counties: Cambridgeshire, Cumbria, Derbyshire, Devon, East Sussex, Essex, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, North Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Somerset, Staffordshire, Suffolk, Surrey, Warwickshire, West Sussex, Worcestershire

London boroughs and City of London or Greater London: Barking and Dagenham, Barnet, Bexley, Brent, Bromley, Camden, Croydon, Ealing, Enfield, Greenwich, Hackney, Hammersmith and Fulham, Haringey, Harrow, Havering, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea, Kingston upon Thames, Lambeth, Lewisham, City of London, Merton, Newham, Redbridge, Richmond upon Thames, Southwark, Sutton, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, Wandsworth, Westminster

metropolitan districts: Barnsley, Birmingham, Bolton, Bradford, Bury, Calderdale, Coventry, Doncaster, Dudley, Gateshead, Kirklees, Knowlsey, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne, North Tyneside, Oldham, Rochdale, Rotherham, Salford, Sandwell, Sefton, Sheffield, Solihull, South Tyneside, St. Helens, Stockport, Sunderland, Tameside, Trafford, Wakefield, Walsall, Wigan, Wirral, Wolverhampton

unitary authorities: Bath and North East Somerset; Bedford; Blackburn with Darwen; Blackpool; Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole; Bracknell Forest; Brighton and Hove; City of Bristol; Buckinghamshire; Central Bedfordshire; Cheshire East; Cheshire West and Chester; Cornwall; Darlington; Derby; Dorset; Durham County*; East Riding of Yorkshire; Halton; Hartlepool; Herefordshire*; Isle of Wight*; Isles of Scilly; City of Kingston upon Hull; Leicester; Luton; Medway; Middlesbrough; Milton Keynes; North East Lincolnshire; North Lincolnshire; North Northamptonshire; North Somerset; Northumberland*; Nottingham; Peterborough; Plymouth; Portsmouth; Reading; Redcar and Cleveland; Rutland; Shropshire; Slough; South Gloucestershire; Southampton; Southend-on-Sea; Stockton-on-Tees; Stoke-on-Trent; Swindon; Telford and Wrekin; Thurrock; Torbay; Warrington; West Berkshire; West Northamptonshire; Wiltshire; Windsor and Maidenhead; Wokingham; York

Northern Ireland: 5 borough councils, 4 district councils, 2 city councils;

borough councils: Antrim and Newtownabbey; Ards and North Down; Armagh City, Banbridge, and Craigavon; Causeway Coast and Glens; Mid and East Antrim

district councils: Derry City and Strabane; Fermanagh and Omagh; Mid Ulster; Newry, Murne, and Down

city councils: Belfast; Lisburn and Castlereagh

Scotland: 32 council areas;

council areas: Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, Angus, Argyll and Bute, Clackmannanshire, Dumfries and Galloway, Dundee City, East Ayrshire, East Dunbartonshire, East Lothian, East Renfrewshire, City of Edinburgh, Eilean Siar (Western Isles), Falkirk, Fife, Glasgow City, Highland, Inverclyde, Midlothian, Moray, North Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire, Orkney Islands, Perth and Kinross, Renfrewshire, Shetland Islands, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, Stirling, The Scottish Borders, West Dunbartonshire, West Lothian

Wales: 22 unitary authorities;

unitary authorities: Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Cardiff, Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Gwynedd, Isle of Anglesey, Merthyr Tydfil, Monmouthshire, Neath Port Talbot, Newport, Pembrokeshire, Powys, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Swansea, The Vale of Glamorgan, Torfaen, Wrexham

Dependent areas

Anguilla; Bermuda; British Indian Ocean Territory; British Virgin Islands; Cayman Islands; Falkland Islands; Gibraltar; Montserrat; Pitcairn Islands; Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha; South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands; Turks and Caicos Islands

Independence

no official date of independence: 927 (minor English kingdoms unite); 3 March 1284 (enactment of the Statute of Rhuddlan uniting England and Wales); 1536 (Act of Union formally incorporates England and Wales); 1 May 1707 (Acts of Union formally unite England, Scotland, and Wales as Great Britain); 1 January 1801 (Acts of Union formally unite Great Britain and Ireland as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland); 6 December 1921 (Anglo-Irish Treaty formalizes partition of Ireland; six counties remain part of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland); 12 April 1927 (Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act establishes current name of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland)

National holiday

the UK does not celebrate one particular national holiday

Constitution

history: unwritten; partly statutes, partly common law and practice

amendments: proposed as a bill for an Act of Parliament by the government, by the House of Commons, or by the House of Lords; passage requires agreement by both houses and by the monarch (Royal Assent); many previous, last in 2020 -  The European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020, European Union (Future Relationship) Act 2020

Legal system

common law system; has nonbinding judicial review of Acts of Parliament under the Human Rights Act of 1998

International law organization participation

accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of the United Kingdom

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: King CHARLES III (since 8 September 2022); Heir Apparent Prince WILLIAM (son of the king, born 21 June 1982); note - CHARLES succeeded his mother, Queen ELIZABETH II, after serving as Prince of Wales (heir apparent) for over 64 years - the longest such tenure in British history

head of government: Prime Minister Rishi SUNAK (Conservative) (since 25 October 2022)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the prime minister

elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition usually becomes the prime minister; election last held on 12 December 2019 (next to be held by 2 May 2024)

note: in addition to serving as the UK head of state, the British sovereign is the constitutional monarch for 14 additional Commonwealth countries (these 15 states are each referred to as a Commonwealth realm)


Legislative branch

description: bicameral Parliament consists of:
House of Lords (membership not fixed; as of October 2021, 787 lords were eligible to participate in the work of the House of Lords - 673 life peers, 88 hereditary peers, and 26 clergy; members are appointed by the monarch on the advice of the prime minister and non-party political members recommended by the House of Lords Appointments Commission); note - House of Lords total does not include ineligible members or members on leave of absence
House of Commons (650 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority popular vote to serve 5-year terms unless the House is dissolved earlier)

elections:
House of Lords - no elections; note - in 1999, as provided by the House of Lords Act, elections were held in the House of Lords to determine the 92 hereditary peers who would remain; elections held only as vacancies in the hereditary peerage arise)
House of Commons - last held on 12 December 2019 (next to be held by 2 May 2024)

election results:
House of Lords - composition - men 554, women 222, percent of women 28.6%
House of Commons - percent of vote by party - Conservative 54.9%, Labor 30.8%, Lib Dems 2.2%, SNP 6.8%, DUP 1.2%, Sinn Fein 1.1%, Plaid Cymru .6%, other 2.5%; seats by party - Conservative 365, Labor 202, SNP 48, Lib Dems 11, DUP 8, Sinn Fein 7, Plaid Cymru 4, other 9; composition - men 425, women 225, percent of women 34.6%; total Parliament percent of women 31.3%

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of 12 justices, including the court president and deputy president); note - the Supreme Court was established by the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 and implemented in 2009, replacing the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords as the highest court in the United Kingdom

judge selection and term of office: judge candidates selected by an independent committee of several judicial commissions, followed by their recommendations to the prime minister, and appointed by the monarch; justices serve for life

subordinate courts: England and Wales: Court of Appeal (civil and criminal divisions); High Court; Crown Court; County Courts; Magistrates' Courts; Scotland: Court of Sessions; Sheriff Courts; High Court of Justiciary; tribunals; Northern Ireland: Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland; High Court; county courts; magistrates' courts; specialized tribunals

Political parties and leaders

Alliance Party (Northern Ireland) [Naomi LONG] 
Conservative and Unionist Party [Rishi SUNAK]
Democratic Unionist Party or DUP (Northern Ireland) [Jeffrey DONALDSON]
Green Party of England and Wales or Greens [Carla DENYER and Adrian RAMSAY]
Labor (Labour) Party [Sir Keir STARMER]
Liberal Democrats (Lib Dems) [Sir Ed DAVEY]
Party of Wales (Plaid Cymru) [Adam PRICE]
Scottish National Party or SNP [Nicola STURGEON]
Sinn Fein (Northern Ireland) [Mary Lou MCDONALD]
Social Democratic and Labor Party or SDLP (Northern Ireland) [Colum EASTWOOD]
UK Independence Party or UKIP [Neil HAMILTON]
Ulster Unionist Party or UUP (Northern Ireland) [Doug BEATTIE]

International organization participation

ADB (nonregional member), AfDB (nonregional member), Arctic Council (observer), Australia Group, BIS, C, CBSS (observer), CD, CDB, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECB, EIB, EITI (implementing country), ESA, EU, FAO, FATF, G-5, G-7, G-8, G-10, G-20, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD (partners), IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MINUSMA, MONUSCO, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, Pacific Alliance (observer), Paris Club, PCA, PIF (partner), SELEC (observer), SICA (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNHCR, UNHRC, UNMISS, UNRWA, UN Security Council (permanent), UNSOM, UPU, Wassenaar Arrangement, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Karen Elizabeth PIERCE (since 8 April 2020)

chancery: 3100 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 588-6500

FAX: [1] (202) 588-7870

email address and website:
britishembassyenquiries@gmail.com

https://www.gov.uk/world/organisations/british-embassy-washington

consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco

consulate(s): Orlando (FL), San Juan (Puerto Rico)

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Matthew PALMER

embassy: 33 Nine Elms Lane, London, SW11 7US

mailing address: 8400 London Place, Washington DC  20521-8400

telephone: [44] (0) 20-7499-9000

FAX: [44] (0) 20-7891-3845

email address and website:
SCSLondon@state.gov

https://uk.usembassy.gov/

consulate(s) general: Belfast, Edinburgh

Flag description

blue field with the red cross of Saint George (patron saint of England) edged in white superimposed on the diagonal red cross of Saint Patrick (patron saint of Ireland), which is superimposed on the diagonal white cross of Saint Andrew (patron saint of Scotland); properly known as the Union Flag, but commonly called the Union Jack; the design and colors (especially the Blue Ensign) have been the basis for a number of other flags including other Commonwealth countries and their constituent states or provinces, and British overseas territories

National symbol(s)

lion (Britain in general); lion, Tudor rose, oak (England); lion, unicorn, thistle (Scotland); dragon, daffodil, leek (Wales); shamrock, flax (Northern Ireland); national colors: red, white, blue (Britain in general); red, white (England); blue, white (Scotland); red, white, green (Wales)

National anthem

name: "God Save the King"

lyrics/music: unknown

note: in use since 1745; by tradition, the song serves as both the national and royal anthem of the UK; it is known as either "God Save the Queen" or "God Save the King," depending on the gender of the reigning monarch; it also serves as the royal anthem of many Commonwealth nations

National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 33 (28 cultural, 4 natural, 1 mixed); note - includes one site in Bermuda

selected World Heritage Site locales: Giant's Causeway and Causeway Coast (n); Ironbridge Gorge (c); Stonehenge, Avebury, and Associated Sites (c); Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd (c); Blenheim Palace (c); City of Bath (c); Tower of London (c); St Kilda (m); Maritime Greenwich (c); Old and New Towns of Edinburgh (c); Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (c); The English Lake District (c)

Economy

Economic overview

The UK, a leading trading power and financial center, is the third largest economy in Europe after Germany and France. Agriculture is intensive, highly mechanized, and efficient by European standards, producing about 60% of food needs with less than 2% of the labor force. The UK has large coal, natural gas, and oil resources, but its oil and natural gas reserves are declining; the UK has been a net importer of energy since 2005. Services, particularly banking, insurance, and business services, are key drivers of British GDP growth. Manufacturing, meanwhile, has declined in importance but still accounts for about 10% of economic output.

In 2008, the global financial crisis hit the economy particularly hard, due to the importance of its financial sector. Falling home prices, high consumer debt, and the global economic slowdown compounded the UK’s economic problems, pushing the economy into recession in the latter half of 2008 and prompting the then BROWN (Labour) government to implement a number of measures to stimulate the economy and stabilize the financial markets. Facing burgeoning public deficits and debt levels, in 2010 the then CAMERON-led coalition government (between Conservatives and Liberal Democrats) initiated an austerity program, which has continued under the Conservative government. However, the deficit still remains one of the highest in the G7, standing at 3.6% of GDP as of 2017, and the UK has pledged to lower its corporation tax from 20% to 17% by 2020. The UK had a debt burden of 90.4% GDP at the end of 2017.

The UK economy has begun to slow since the referendum vote to leave the EU in June 2016. A sustained depreciation of the British pound has increased consumer and producer prices, weighing on consumer spending without spurring a meaningful increase in exports. The UK has an extensive trade relationship with other EU members through its single market membership, and economic observers have warned the exit will jeopardize its position as the central location for European financial services. The UK is slated to leave the EU at the end of January 2020.

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$2,797,980,000,000 (2020 est.)

$3,101,640,000,000 (2019 est.)

$3,059,690,000,000 (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

Real GDP growth rate

1.26% (2019 est.)

1.25% (2018 est.)

1.74% (2017 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$41,600 (2020 est.)

$46,400 (2019 est.)

$46,000 (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$2,827,918,000,000 (2019 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

1.7% (2019 est.)

2.4% (2018 est.)

2.6% (2017 est.)

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: AA- (2020)

Moody's rating: Aaa (2020)

Standard & Poors rating: AA (2016)

note: The year refers to the year in which the current credit rating was first obtained.

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 0.7% (2017 est.)

industry: 20.2% (2017 est.)

services: 79.2% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 65.8% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 18.3% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 17.2% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 0.2% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 30.2% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -31.5% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

wheat, milk, barley, sugar beet, potatoes, rapeseed, poultry, oats, pork, beef

Industries

machine tools, electric power equipment, automation equipment, railroad equipment, shipbuilding, aircraft, motor vehicles and parts, electronics and communications equipment, metals, chemicals, coal, petroleum, paper and paper products, food processing, textiles, clothing, other consumer goods

Labor force

35.412 million (2020 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 1.3%

industry: 15.2%

services: 83.5% (2014 est.)

Unemployment rate

3.17% (2019 est.)

2.51% (2018 est.)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 11.2%

male: 13%

female: 9.2% (2019 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 1.7%

highest 10%: 31.1% (2012)

Budget

revenues: 1.028 trillion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 1.079 trillion (2017 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-1.9% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

Public debt

87.5% of GDP (2017 est.)

87.9% of GDP (2016 est.)

note: data cover general government debt and include debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities other than the treasury; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data include debt issued by subnational entities, as well as intragovernmental debt; intragovernmental debt consists of treasury borrowings from surpluses in the social funds, such as for retirement, medical care, and unemployment; debt instruments for the social funds are not sold at public auctions

Taxes and other revenues

39.1% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

Fiscal year

6 April - 5 April

Current account balance

-$121.921 billion (2019 est.)

-$104.927 billion (2018 est.)

Exports

$741.95 billion (2020 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$879.92 billion (2019 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$882.65 billion (2018 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

Exports - partners

United States 15%, Germany 10%, China 7%, Netherlands 7%, France 7%, Ireland 6% (2019)

Exports - commodities

cars, gas turbines, gold, crude petroleum, packaged medicines (2019)

Imports

$752.77 billion (2020 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$914.96 billion (2019 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$916.4 billion (2018 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

Imports - partners

Germany 13%, China 10%, United States 8%, Netherlands 7%, France 6%, Belgium 5% (2019)

Imports - commodities

gold, cars, crude petroleum, refined petroleum, broadcasting equipment (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$150.8 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$129.6 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Debt - external

$8,721,590,000,000 (2019 est.)

$8,696,559,000,000 (2018 est.)

Exchange rates

British pounds (GBP) per US dollar -

0.7836 (2017 est.)

0.738 (2016 est.)

0.738 (2015 est.)

0.607 (2014 est.)

0.6391 (2013 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2020)

Electricity

installed generating capacity: 113.153 million kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 289.688 billion kWh (2020 est.)

exports: 4.481 billion kWh (2020 est.)

imports: 22.391 billion kWh (2020 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 27.746 billion kWh (2020 est.)

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 37.8% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 15.2% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 4.3% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 25.2% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 2.6% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 15% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

Coal

production: 2.892 million metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 9.401 million metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 1.309 million metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 5.537 million metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 26 million metric tons (2019 est.)

Petroleum

total petroleum production: 890,400 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 1,578,100 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 818,200 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 891,700 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 2.5 billion barrels (2021 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production

1.29 million bbl/day (2017 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports

613,800 bbl/day (2017 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports

907,500 bbl/day (2017 est.)

Natural gas

production: 32,482,541,000 cubic meters (2021 est.)

consumption: 75,696,895,000 cubic meters (2021 est.)

exports: 6,873,025,000 cubic meters (2021 est.)

imports: 51,050,178,000 cubic meters (2021 est.)

proven reserves: 180.661 billion cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

398.084 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 23.5 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 216.237 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 158.346 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

Energy consumption per capita

119.894 million Btu/person (2019 est.)

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 32.037 million (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 47 (2020 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 80.967 million (2019)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 119.9 (2019)

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: UK’s telecom market remains one of the largest in Europe, characterized by competition, affordable pricing, and its technologically advanced systems; mobile penetration above the EU average; government to invest in infrastructure and 5G technologies with ambition for a fully-fibered nation by 2033; operators expanded the reach of 5G services in 2020; super-fast broadband available to about 95% of customers; London is developing smart city technology, in collaboration with private, tech, and academic sectors (2021)

domestic: equal mix of buried cables, microwave radio relay, and fiber-optic systems; fixed-line over 47 per 100 and mobile-cellular over 116 per 100 (2020)

international: country code - 44; Landing points for the GTT Atlantic, Scotland-Northern Ireland -1, & -2, Lanis 1,-2, &-3, Sirius North, BT-MT-1, SHEFA-2, BT Highlands and Islands Submarine Cable System, Northern Lights, FARICE-1, Celtic Norse, Tampnet Offshore FOC Network, England Cable, CC-2, E-LLan, Sirius South, ESAT -1 & -2, Rockabill, Geo-Eirgrid, UK-Netherlands-14, Circle North & South, Ulysses2, Conceto, Farland North, Pan European Crossing, Solas, Swansea-Bream, GTT Express, Tata TGN-Atlantic & -Western Europe, Apollo, EIG, Glo-1, TAT-14, Yellow, Celtic, FLAG Atlantic-1, FEA, Isle of Scilly Cable, UK-Channel Islands-8 and SeaMeWe-3 submarine cables providing links throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Australia, and US; satellite earth stations - 10 Intelsat (7 Atlantic Ocean and 3 Indian Ocean), 1 Inmarsat (Atlantic Ocean region), and 1 Eutelsat; at least 8 large international switching centers (2019)

note: the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on production and supply chains globally; since 2020, some aspects of the telecom sector have experienced a downturn, particularly in mobile device production; progress toward 5G implementation has resumed, as well as upgrades to infrastructure; consumer spending on telecom services has increased due to the surge in demand for capacity and bandwidth; the crucial nature of telecom services as a tool for work and school from home is still evident, and the spike in this area has seen growth opportunities for development of new tools and increased services

Broadcast media

public service broadcaster, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), is the largest broadcasting corporation in the world; BBC operates multiple TV networks with regional and local TV service; a mixed system of public and commercial TV broadcasters along with satellite and cable systems provide access to hundreds of TV stations throughout the world; BBC operates multiple national, regional, and local radio networks with multiple transmission sites; a large number of commercial radio stations, as well as satellite radio services are available (2018)

Internet users

total: 63,854,528 (2020 est.)

percent of population: 95% (2020 est.)

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 27,330,297 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 40 (2020 est.)

Communications - note

note 1: the British Library claims to be the largest library in the world with well over 150 million items and in most known languages; it receives copies of all books produced in the UK or Ireland, as well as a significant proportion of overseas titles distributed in the UK; in addition to books (print and digital), holdings include: journals, manuscripts, newspapers, magazines, sound and music recordings, videos, maps, prints, patents, and drawings

note 2: on 1 May 1840, the United Kingdom led the world with the introduction of postage stamps; the Austrian Empire had examined the idea of an "adhesive tax postmark" for the prepayment of postage in 1835; while the suggestion was reviewed in detail, it was rejected for the time being; other countries (including Austria) soon followed the UK's example with their own postage stamps; by the 1860s, most countries were issuing stamps; originally, stamps had to be cut from sheets; the UK issued the first postage stamps with perforations in 1854

Transportation

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 20 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 794

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 165,388,610 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 6,198,370,000 (2018) mt-km

Airports

total: 460 (2021)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 271

over 3,047 m: 7

2,438 to 3,047 m: 29

1,524 to 2,437 m: 89

914 to 1,523 m: 80

under 914 m: 66 (2021)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 189

1,524 to 2,437 m: 3

914 to 1,523 m: 26

under 914 m: 160 (2021)

Heliports

9 (2021)

Pipelines

502 km condensate, 9 km condensate/gas, 28,603 km gas, 59 km liquid petroleum gas, 5,256 km oil, 175 km oil/gas/water, 4,919 km refined products, 255 km water (2013)

Railways

total: 16,837 km (2015)

standard gauge: 16,534 km (2015) 1.435-m gauge (5,357 km electrified)

broad gauge: 303 km (2015) 1.600-m gauge (in Northern Ireland)

Roadways

total: 394,428 km (2009)

paved: 394,428 km (2009) (includes 3,519 km of expressways)

Waterways

3,200 km (2009) (620 km used for commerce)

Merchant marine

total: 1,249

by type: bulk carrier 140, container ship 59, general cargo 109, oil tanker 84, other 857 (2021)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Dover, Felixstowe, Immingham, Liverpool, London, Southampton, Teesport (England); Forth Ports (Scotland); Milford Haven (Wales)

oil terminal(s): Fawley Marine terminal, Liverpool Bay terminal (England); Braefoot Bay terminal, Finnart oil terminal, Hound Point terminal (Scotland)

container port(s) (TEUs): Felixstowe (3,584,000), London (2,790,000), Southampton (1,924,847) (2019)

LNG terminal(s) (import): Dragon, Isle of Grain, South Hook, Teesside

Transportation - note

begun in 1988 and completed in 1994, the Channel Tunnel (nicknamed the Chunnel) is a 50.5-km (31.4-mi) rail tunnel beneath the English Channel at the Strait of Dover that runs from Folkestone, Kent, England to Coquelles, Pas-de-Calais in northern France; it is the only fixed link between the island of Great Britain and mainland Europe

Military and Security

Military and security forces

United Kingdom Armed Forces (aka British Armed Forces, aka Her Majesty's Armed Forces): British Army, Royal Navy (includes Royal Marines), Royal Air Force (2022)

note: in 2021 the UK formed a joint service Space Command staffed by Army, Navy, and Air Force personnel, as well as civilians and key members of the commercial sector to manage space operations, training, and capabilities; it established a National Cyber Force comprised of military and intelligence personnel in 2020; in 2019, the UK formed the Strategic Command (formerly Joint Forces Command) to develop and manage the British military's medical services, training and education, defense intelligence, and information systems across the land, sea, air, space, and cyber domains; national-level special forces (UK Special Forces, UKSF) also fall under Strategic Command; in addition, the command manages joint overseas operations

Military expenditures

2.1% of GDP (2022 est.)

2.5% of GDP (2021)

2.3% of GDP (2020)

2.1% of GDP (2019) (approximately $68.4 billion)

2.1% of GDP (2018) (approximately $67.8 billion)

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 153,000 regular forces (81,000 Army; 34,000 Navy, including about 7,000 Royal Marines; 38,000 Air Force) (2022)

note: the military also has approximately 40-45,000 reserves and other personnel on active duty

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the inventory of the British military is comprised of a mix of domestically-produced and imported Western weapons systems; the US has been the leading supplier of armaments to the UK since 2010; the UK defense industry is capable of producing a wide variety of air, land, and sea weapons systems and is one of the world's top weapons suppliers (2021)

Military service age and obligation

some variations by service, but generally 16-36 years of age for enlisted (with parental consent under 18) and 18-29 for officers; minimum length of service 4 years; women serve in all military services including combat roles; conscription abolished in 1963 (2022)

note 1: as of 2019, women made up about 11% of the military's full-time personnel

note 2: the British military allows Commonwealth nationals who are current UK residents and have been in the country for at least 5 years to apply; it also accepts Irish citizens

note 3: the British Army has continued the historic practice of recruiting Gurkhas from Nepal to serve in the Brigade of Gurkhas; the British began to recruit Nepalese citizens (Gurkhas) into the East India Company Army during the Anglo-Nepalese War (1814-1816); the Gurkhas subsequently were brought into the British Indian Army and by 1914, there were 10 Gurkha regiments, collectively known as the Gurkha Brigade; following the partition of India in 1947, an agreement between Nepal, India, and Great Britain allowed for the transfer of the 10 regiments from the British Indian Army to the separate British and Indian armies; four of the regiments were transferred to the British Army, where they have since served continuously as the Brigade of Gurkhas 

Military deployments

approximately 1,000 Brunei; approximately 400 Canada (BATUS); approximately 2,500 Cyprus (250 for UNFICYP); approximately 1,000 Estonia (NATO); approximately 1,200 Falkland Islands; approximately 200 Germany; 570 Gibraltar; approximately 1,400 Middle East (including Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, UAE); up to 350 Kenya (BATUK); approximately 350 Mali (EUTM, MINUSMA); 150 Poland (NATO) (2022)

note: in response to Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine, some NATO countries, including the UK, have sent additional troops and equipment to the battlegroups deployed in NATO territory in eastern Europe

Military - note

the UK is a member of NATO and was one of the original 12 countries to sign the North Atlantic Treaty (also known as the Washington Treaty) in 1949; the UK is also a member of the Five Powers Defense Arrangements (FPDA), a series of mutual assistance agreements reached in 1971 embracing Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, and the UK; the FPDA commits the members to consult with one another in the event or threat of an armed attack on any of the members and to mutually decide what measures should be taken, jointly or separately; there is no specific obligation to intervene militarily

in 2010, France and the UK signed a declaration on defense and security cooperation that included greater military interoperability and a Combined Joint Expeditionary Force (CJEF), a deployable, combined Anglo-French military force for use in a wide range of crisis scenarios, up to and including high intensity combat operations; the CJEF has no standing forces but would be available at short notice for UK-French bilateral, NATO, EU, UN, or other operations; combined training exercises began in 2011; as of 2020, the CJEF was assessed as having full operating capacity with the ability to rapidly deploy over 10,000 personnel capable of high intensity operations, peacekeeping, disaster relief, and humanitarian assistance

in 2014, the UK led the formation of the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF), a pool of high-readiness military forces from Baltic and Scandinavian countries able to respond to a wide range of contingencies both in peacetime and in times of crisis or conflict; its principal geographic area of interest is the High North, North Atlantic, and Baltic Sea regions, where the JEF can complement national capabilities or NATO’s deterrence posture, although it is designed to be flexible and prepared to respond to humanitarian crises further afield; the JEF consists of 10 countries (Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and the UK) and was declared operational in 2018; most of the forces in the pool are British, and the UK provides the most rapidly deployable units as well as the command and control elements

the British Armed Forces were formed in 1707 as the armed forces of the Kingdom of Great Britain when England and Scotland merged under the terms of the Treaty of Union; while the origins of the armed forces of England and Scotland stretch back to the Middle Ages, the first standing armies for England and Scotland were organized in the 1600s while the navies were formed in the 1500s; the Royal Marines were established in 1755; the Royal Air Force was created in April 1918 by the merger of the British Army's Royal Flying Corps and the Admiralty's Royal Naval Air Service (2022)

Terrorism

Terrorist group(s)

Continuity Irish Republican Army; Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS); New Irish Republican Army; al-Qa'ida

note: details about the history, aims, leadership, organization, areas of operation, tactics, targets, weapons, size, and sources of support of the group(s) appear(s) in Appendix-T

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

UK-Argentina: UK rejects sovereignty talks requested by Argentina, which still claims the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands

UK-Argentina-Chile: the UK’s territorial claim in Antarctica (British Antarctic Territory) overlaps Argentine claim and partially overlaps Chilean claim

UK-Denmark: the UK, Iceland, and Ireland dispute Denmark's claim that the Faroe Islands' continental shelf extends beyond 200 nm; Iceland, Norway, and the Faroe Islands signed an agreement in 2019 extending the Faroe Islands’ northern continental shelf area

UK (Gibraltar)-Spain: in 2002, Gibraltar residents voted overwhelmingly by referendum to reject any "shared sovereignty" arrangement between the UK and Spain; the Government of Gibraltar insisted on equal participation in talks between the two countries; Spain disapproved of UK plans to grant Gibraltar greater autonomy; London and Madrid reached a temporary agreement at the end of 2020 that allowed Gibraltar to be part of the passport-free Schengen zone; talks are expected to continue in 2022

UK-Mauritius-Seychelles: Mauritius and Seychelles claim the Chagos Archipelago (British Indian Ocean Territory); in 2001, the former inhabitants of the archipelago, evicted 1967 - 1973, were granted UK citizenship and the right of return, followed by Orders in Council in 2004 that banned rehabitation, a High Court ruling reversed the ban, a Court of Appeal refusal to hear the case, and a Law Lords' decision in 2008 denied the right of return; in addition, the UK created the world's largest marine protection area around the Chagos Islands prohibiting the extraction of any natural resources therein

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 21,011 (Iran), 14,503 (Eritrea), 11,251 (Sudan), 11,412 (Syria), 9,469 (Afghanistan), 8,357 (Pakistan), 6,933 (Iraq), 5,200 (Sri Lanka) (2020); 143,100 (Ukraine) (as of 8 November 2022)

stateless persons: 3,968 (mid-year 2021)

Illicit drugs

consumer and transit country for illicit drugs; cocaine and heroin consumption rates among Europe’s highest; criminal organizations engage in domestic drug trafficking and financial crimes; drug use remains linked to serious violence; major source of precursor chemicals used in the production of illicit narcotics