United Kingdom

Ease of Doing Business Rank: 8

Geographic location

The United Kingdom, made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, is an island nation in northwestern Europe. It lies off the mainland adjacent to the coastal European countries of Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium, and France.

Spoken language

The de facto official language is English and it is spoken by 98 percent of the population. Welsh is a legally recognized language in the U.K., but only spoken by approximately 700,000 residents.


The 2019 population estimate for the United Kingdom is approximately 66.86 million inhabitants. Almost 84% of the total population resides in England, 8.4% reside in Scotland, 4.8% reside in Wales, and 2.9% reside in Northern Island.

Popular industries

The top ten industries in the United Kingdom include finance and banking, information technology, construction, oil and gas, government, healthcare, manufacturing, wholesale and retail, transportation and logistics, and education.


The US News & World Report rated the United Kingdom number one in education for 2019 and 2018.

The Times Higher Education World Rankings report the United Kingdom has three of the world’s top ten universities, including the top two – the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge.

Popular entity types

The most common business entities in the United Kingdom are Sole Trader, Partnership, or Limited Company. According to the U.K Office for National Statistics, the number of companies and public corporations continues to rise and represents 71.4% of total UK businesses, which offset a gradual fall in sole proprietors and partnerships.

United Kingdom incentives for business

The UK offers several incentives for those wanting to invest in small business including The Enterprise Investment Scheme and the Venture Capital Trust which offer tax relief for individuals.

They also offer generous incentives for companies investing in research and development in the UK to promote fast-growing, innovative services and products.

The Patent Box offers a 10% corporation tax (compared to the usual 19%) on profits from inventions patented in the UK.

History & Features

Main cities for business

London is the largest economic center in the United Kingdom. Other major business centers include Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow, Bristol, Leeds, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Sheffield, Liverpool, Nottingham, and more.

Popular historical & tourist attractions

The United Kingdom includes countless historical sites and tourist attractions. London is a very popular destination as it brims with history and attractions. The Tower of London and Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and Houses of Parliament, The British Museum, and the National Gallery are just a few of the world-renowned sights in this capital city.

Scotland’s Edinburgh Castle, Palace of Holyroodhouse and Holyrood Abbey and The Royal Mile also merit mention. The rolling hills of Snowdonia, Brecon Beacons National Park, and Caernarfon Castle in Wales are also worthwhile. Northern Ireland’s Giant’s Causeway and The Titanic Belfast are popular attractions too.


The United Kingdom has a long history, including invasions by the Romans, Saxons, Vikings, and Normans. In 1282, the English conquered the Welsh and by 1536 they became a unified nation.

Scotland and England battled for years, but in 1602 the Scottish king also became the King of England. The two nations unified in 1707 and in 1801 Ireland joined the ranks. However, Irish rebellion led to a separation on Northern and Southern Ireland. The north remained part of the United Kingdom, while the south became an Irish free state.

The United Kingdom started the Industrial Revolution and the nation became a major producer of goods and international power. They also took a leading role in democracy and education.

Today, the United Kingdom is a highly developed nation with considerable international economic, political, scientific and cultural influence. The UKs GDP is expected to 2890.00 USD Billion by the end of this quarter, or fifth in the world.

Other relevant facts

The official state-sanctioned religion in the UK is the Church of England which is of the Christian Protestant faith. However, minority religions include Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, Judaism and Buddhism.

The UK has a very diverse population with over 13 percent of the population of black, Asian, mixed, or other ethnic origins.

Additional Information for Business

According to Forbes’ 2019 Best Countries for Business, the UK ranks number one for the second year as the country most hospitable to capital investment.

The 2019 Index of Economic Freedom rates the UK number 7 globally and states, “The U.K. has one of the world’s most efficient business and investment environments and will soon be open to expanded global trade relationships.”

Additionally, starting a business can take less than a week in the UK, because it has a very efficient regulatory system.

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