I. The Evolution of the British Economy since the War

The evolution of the British economy since WWII falls into three periods:

(1) Steady development in the 50s and 60s: The British economy in this period is characterized by slow but steady growth, low unemployment and great material prosperity with rising standards of consumption.

(2) Economic recession in the 70s: In the 1970s among the developed countries, Britain maintained the lowest growth rate and the highest inflation rate, and the high record of trade deficits.

(3) Economic recovery in the 80s: An outstanding feature of the economic recovery in the 80s was its length, lasting seven years. Another was the improved financial position of the government, with stronger current account of the balance of payments.

II. Measures taken by Mrs. Thatcher's government to improve the economy

Mrs. Thatcher's government took numerous measures to improve the efficiency of the economy during the past decade, using both macroeconomic and microeconomic policies.

(1) Macroeconomic measures were directed towards bringing down the rate of inflation and achieving price stability.

(2) Microeconomic policies were aimed at working with the grain of market forces by encouraging enterprise, efficiency and flexibility.

III. Reasons for the British coal mining is called a "sick" industry today.

Today the coal industry in Britain is on the decline,the number of miners, collieries and the total output have been falling.

The reasons for the decline are as follows: exhaustion of old mines, costly operations of extraction, poor old equipment, little investment, fall in demand due to imports of cleaner, cheaper and more efficient fuels, etc.

IV. Britain's oil and natural gas

Natural gas was discovered in 1965 and oil in 1970 under the North Sea. Today Britain is not only self-sufficient in oil but also has a surplus for export. The transport and domestic heating systems mostly depend on oil. So does the food supply, because most agriculture is highly mechanized. Modern farming requires things which are all oil-based.

V. Main problems associated with Britain's iron and steel industry today.

British iron and steel industry is declining for the following reasons:

1. Local supplies of iron ore have become exhausted;

2. Old fashioned furnaces for making coke cannot recover valuable by-products;

3. Blast furnaces, steelworks, and rolling mills are often separated from each other and thus cannot perform as well as more compact operation;

4. Many steelworks have to be closed down, causing major unemployment in an area.

VI. Textile Industry

The main textile producing regions of Britain are the East Midlands, Yorkshire, Humberside, and Northern Ireland.

The reasons behind the decline of Britain's textile industry are:

(1) Exports of textiles have not competed well with those of other foreign producers who have managed to produce cheaper goods.

(2) There has been a rise in cheaper imports of textiles to Britain from foreign producers.

(3) Poor and outdated management decisions have caused problem.

(4) Substitutions of human-made fibres have been made for natural fibres.

(5) An improvement of output per worker has been achieved, due to mechanization.

VII. New Industries

New industries include microprocessors and computers, biotechnology and other high-tech industries. There are three areas in Britain which have seen some high-tech industrial growth: (1) the area between London and South Wales, (2) the Cambridge area of East Anglia and (3) the area between Glasgow and Edinburgh in Scotland. The third area is the most spectacular of the three and is now often referred to as the "Silicon Glen". By the end of 1985 half of Britain's microchip output was estimated to have come from Scotland.