- Population: 49.5 million
- Area: 130,395 sq km
- Population density: 380 people per sq km
- Capital: London (population 7.1 million)
Unlike Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, England has no separate elected national body or government department responsible for its central administration. English affairs are the responsibility of the UK government departments www.open.gov.uk in London.
In most of the country, local government is administered through a two-tier system of county and district councils. There are also a number of single-tier or unitary authorities, especially in larger cities.
The Government also wants to see more accountable regional government in England where there is demand for this. As a first step, nine Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) have been set up:
- East Midlands
- North East
- North West and Merseyside
- South East
- South West
- West Midlands
- Yorkshire and the Humber
- Population: 5.1 million
- Area: 78,313 sq km
- Population density: 65 people per sq km
- Capital: Edinburgh (population 450,180)
Since 1999 Scotland has had its own Parliament and Executive, located in Edinburgh. The Scottish Parliament's responsibilities include health; education and training; local government; housing; economic development; transport; the environment; agriculture; and many aspects of civil and criminal law. The Parliament can vary the level of income tax and enact or repeal legislation in areas for which it is responsible. The Scottish Executive (the government) is headed by a First Minister. It has responsibility for all public bodies whose functions and services have been devolved to Edinburgh, and is accountable to the Scottish Parliament for them.
Gaelic, a Celtic language, is spoken by some 70,000 Scots, many of them living in the Hebrides.
- Population: 2.9 million
- Area: 20,754 sq km
- Population density: 141 people per sq km
- Capital: Cardiff (population 321,000)
Seit 1999 hat Wales sein eigenes Parlament, genannt National Assembly for Wales (Nationalversammlung von Wales), und sein eigenes Kabinett, beide mit Sitz in Cardiff. Die National Assembly for Wales ist zuständig für die folgenden Ressorts: Wirtschaftsentwicklung; Landwirtschaft; Bildung; Wohnungswesen; Industrie; Kommunalverwaltung. Auf den Gebieten, für die die National Assembly Wales zuständig ist, kann sie abgeleitetes Recht erlassen.
1997 gaben 21% der Bevölkerung an, walisisch zu sprechen. Walisisch wird zu offiziellen Zwecken weithin benutzt, und in der National Assembly for Wales ist es gleichberechtigte Arbeitssprache neben Englisch.
- Population: 1.7 million
- Area: 13,843 sq km
- Population density: 122 people per sq km
- Capital: Belfast (population 280,000)
Multi-party talks in Belfast concluded in April 1998 with what became known as the 'Good Friday Agreement'. Legislation was passed at Westminster authorising a referendum on the settlement in Northern Ireland and permitting elections to a new Northern Ireland Assembly. In May1998, referendums were held in both parts of Ireland and the Agreement received a clear endorsement. Northern Ireland voted 71.1% in favour and 28.8% against, while in the Irish Republic the result was 94.3% and 5.6% respectively.
A new Northern Ireland Assembly was elected in June 1998 and met for the first time the following month. Legislation to implement the settlement and formally institute devolved administrative powers was introduced in the Westminster Parliament in July 1998 and received Royal Assent the following November. However, the decommissioning of weapons remained an obstacle to implementation and the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Peter Mandelson, temporarily suspended the Assembly in February 2000. When the Irish Republican Army (IRA) issued a statement committing itself to "a process that will completely and verifiably put arms beyond use" the Assembly was restored on 22 May 2000.
- Population: 7.1 million
- Area: 1,560 sq km
- Population density: 4,565 people per sq km
The metropolitan county of Greater London consists of 32 London Boroughs and the City of London (the historic core of London and centre of its finance industry, known as 'the square mile').
The Greater London Authority (GLA), established in May 2000, consists of an elected Mayor and a separately elected Assembly. It has responsibility for London-wide issues such as transport, economic development, environmental protection, strategic planning, police and fire services. Each Borough also has a Council responsible for local government services in its area. In the City of London, the local authority is known as the Corporation of London.
The Mayor of London, who has responsibility for Greater London, including the City, should not be confused with the Lord Mayor, who represents only the City.
For detailed information about London, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and England, see the National Statistics Website.
The texts presented here have been placed with friendly approval of the British embassy on non-commercial basis. You find further information about Great Britain and the UK on the web pages of the British embassy named below.
Contact: British Embassy, Wilhelmstr. 70-71,
10117 Berlin, Germany Tel +49 (0)30 20457-0