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From Birmingham 1998 to Köln 1999
Country Report

United Kingdom

~ United Kingdom Contents ~ Country Objectives ~


The United Kingdom always has a significant influence at the summit. Prime Minister Tony Blair received much attention at his first summit in 1997 in Denver as the new kid on the block who brought a different perspective and some new ideas to the table. Blair remained the centre of attention at the 1998 Birmingham Summit as its host. His charisma in and of itself draws attention, but Blair and his government also enjoy significant public approval ratings and Blair himself has the respect of his fellow G8 leaders as a negotiator, a leader that gets things done and one who is both socially conscious and politically astute. The UK economy, although slowing since Blair's government came into office in May, 1997, remains strong and stable which will add to their strength around the summit table.

Political Data

Political Data ~ Composition of Parliament ~ Economy

Political Data
Head of State: Queen Elizabeth II
Prime Minister: Tony Blair
Finance Minister / Chancellor of the Exchequer: Gordon Brown
Foreign Minister: Robin Cook
Secretary of State for Trade & Industry: Stephen Byers
Central Bank Governor: Eddie George
Environment Minister: Jeff Hoon
Employment Minister: David Blunkett
Sherpa: John Holmes
Sous-Sherpa: Colin Budd (FCO)
Political Party in Government: Labour Party


Composition of Parliament
(General Election of May 1, 1997)
Party # of Seats

Labour 418
Conservative 165
Liberal-Dem. Party 46
Scottish Nat'l Party 6
Plaid Cymru 4
Unionist (all) 13
Soc. Dem. & Lab. 3
Sinn Fein 2

Next General Election due before: May 1, 2002


Economic Data
GDP: (1995 prices)
(pounds milllion)
(1997 figure)
756, 144
Population: 58.8 million
Economic Growth Rate: +1 - 1.5 % in 1999
Unemployment Rate: (March 1999 - UK claimant unemployment rate)
4.6%, down from 4.8% a year earlier;

(February - ILO 3 month unemployment rate)
6.3%, down from 6.4% a year ago

Interest Rate: (March 1999) 4.5%
Exchange Rate: (Pounds per US dollar) (May 26, 1999) 0.62437
Current Account:
(latest 12 months)
(1997) (pounds million) +8, 006

Prepared by Allison Smith, University of Toronto G8 Research Group, May 1999.

~ United Kingdom Contents ~ Country Objectives ~

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