UK stands for United Kingdom as abbreviated by
Abbreviationfinder.org. The big victory in the May 1, 1997 parliamentary
elections had given Labor a very strong majority (419 of the
659 seats of the House of Commons), and the new government
was able to work relatively undisturbed during the year.
Prime Minister Tony Blair is still enjoying great
popularity. In January, Labor challenged its voters for the
first time when a controversial welfare reform was launched.
Among other things, the contributions to single parents were
lowered, and the contributions to the disabled should be
tested for needs. The UK government wants to get as many of
the country's contributors as possible to start working
again and break their dependency. But the proposals were not
accepted by the Labor Party's left wing, and the designated
groups also reacted very negatively.
Later, Finance Minister Gordon Brown introduced a more
popular New Deal reform for young unemployed people. Brown
promised to start a crusade against unemployment and that
anyone between the ages of 18 and 24 who has been unemployed
for six months should get a job or education. To further
dampen criticism and to make work more attractive than
grants, Finance Minister Brown introduced in his new budget,
which was presented in March, a guaranteed minimum wage and
tax exemption for the lowest paid.
But welfare reform had nevertheless damaged confidence in
the Labor government. Social Minister Harriet Harman had to
carry the dog's head and was forced to resign when Blair
reformed his government in June. Several other ministers
were replaced by new ones, among others. it disputed Peter
Mandelson, one of Blair's closest men, who became a new
Minister of Commerce.
In March, 200,000 people marched through London in one of
the biggest demonstrations of many years. It was a loose
coalition of different groups, all of which demanded a
greater understanding of the rural population. The
requirements ranged from increased rights to hike on private
land to increased financial support for the farmers affected
by the BSE crisis (mad cow disease crisis). However, the
frustration of meat producers eased somewhat when the EU
finally decided to lift the ban on the export of British
beef 32 months after it was introduced on March 27, 1996.
However, it will be until spring 1999 before British meat
exports can be resumed again. During the long blockade, 4
million cattle have been slaughtered, which is estimated to
have cost the UK taxpayers about 4.6 billion pounds despite
compensation from the EU.
One of Labour's most important election promises was to
modernize Britain, and already in the first year in power,
referendums were held that led to increased independence for
Scotland and Wales. A new referendum during the year decided
that London should also have its own political government
and a directly elected mayor. Now the very old-fashioned
upper house, The House of Lords, is in turn to be adapted to
the new Labor guidelines. The government wants to abolish
the nobility's inheritance right to debate and vote in the
upper house, but the heirs have announced that they do not
intend to let their old privileges disappear without a fight
and the conservatives in the lower house have also opposed.
Conservative leader William Hague was subjected to public
humiliation when he discovered that the Conservative leader
in the upper house, Lord Cranborne, had negotiated behind
him on his back to save some of the inheritance for the time
being. Hague dismissed Cranborne, while another six
Conservatives in the upper house resigned in protest, and
the Tory leader's authority was questioned. The historic
democratization of the British upper house will be one of
the major political issues in 1999.
Tony Blair stated that the UK, which has chosen to stand
outside the EMU, must approach the EU in order not to risk
being excluded when the EMU enters into force on 1 January
1999. The UK government intends to strengthen its position
in Europe by increasing bilateral contacts with certain
selected countries: Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the
It looked as if 1998 would be another very successful
year for Prime Minister Blair, but just before the Christmas
holidays he suffered a severe setback. His friend and
adviser, the influential Peter Mandelson, was unexpectedly
forced to resign after it was revealed that he had borrowed
just over SEK 5 million from Geoffrey Robinson, Deputy
Minister of Finance with special responsibility for tax
issues. Robinson also decided to step down when it came to
Mandelson keeping the loan secret in order to borrow more
money, to an exclusive home, from other lenders.
In September 2006, Blair visited Lebanon after
the Israeli attack on the country. The journey merely to
further aggravate Blair's image in the UK and abroad.
Subsequently, Minister of Social Exclusion, Hillary
Armstrong declared that Blair intended to resign from the
post of Prime Minister after the next Labor Assembly in
After nearly two years of speculation over Blair's
departure, Finance Minister Gordon Brown took over the post
of Prime Minister in June 2007. In his accession speech, he
stated that it was "a government with new priorities".
Observers pointed out that there would be changes in foreign
policy in particular. Already at this time, Britain was on
its way to drastically reducing its presence in the Iraqi
occupation force. A few months later, the British
transferred responsibility for Basra to the Iraqis.
Blair himself was appointed coordinator for the Middle
East Quarter, responsible for Roadmap for Peace.
Relations between Russia and Britain
deteriorated throughout 2007. In November 2006, former KGB
agent Alexander Litvinenko died in London after being
poisoned with the radioactive substance Polonium-210. From
the beginning, Russia was accused of being behind the
murder, which was rejected by Russia. However, as early as
January 2007, British investigations were directed at FSB
agent Andrei Lugovoi, who was formally required to be
extradited later in the year. Moscow denied this, after
which Britain expelled 5 Russian diplomats. Russia responded
again with the expulsion of a similar number of British
diplomats. Litvinenko jumped off the UK in 2001, claiming he
had been sent to the country to murder Russian oligarch
Boris Berezovsky, who had been granted political asylum in
The banking crisis in the autumn of 2008 led the
government to implement terrorist legislation against
Iceland. About 300,000 Britons had speculated about
putting money into the Icelandic bank Icesave, which went
bankrupt in September 2008. The government adopted immediate
exemption legislation, which froze the values of the
Icelandic bank in the UK, and in the following time
tightened legs for relief packages to Iceland. In the summer
of 2009, the Icelandic government agreed to pay compensation
to the British speculators. In 2017-23, Iceland will have to
pay 4% of its GDP to UK speculators to compensate them for
In the summer of 2009, the daily newspaper Daily
Telegraph reveal that the British MPs were largely
scammed with the system that allowed them to "cover their
expenses of being a Member of Parliament". The system was
intended to cover e.g. the cost of double housing for
members who lived far away, or similar transport costs. But
the money was used for e.g. to pay the MPs' children, buy or
modernize luxury villas that were subsequently rented out.
The scandal revealed that at least half of both Labor and
Conservative members had their fingers deep in the box
office. The President had to step down as he had allowed the
scam to continue. The leaders of both Labor and
Conservatives tried to limit the damage by calling on their
scammers to lament and repay the funds. In February 2010,
charges were raised. However, only against 4 members: 3
Labor and 1 Conservative. The public reaction was deeply
politicized and a political move towards other candidates.
However, the scandal was largely forgotten when the British
were to vote in the May 2010 parliamentary elections.
The May 2010 parliamentary elections were a big victory
for the Conservatives, who went 97 seats up to 306.
Percentage progress was limited: 3.7% to 36.1%. But due to
the British electoral system, the small percentage increase
gave a large increase in mandate. The party's leader, David
Cameron, subsequently became new prime minister. For Labor,
the election was a disaster. It fell 91 seats to 258.
Percentage decline was 6.2% to 29%. The election was
historic because neither of the two old parties had a
majority, and Cameron therefore had to form government with
the Liberals. Until then, British governments had always
been pure party governments.
A frightening feature of the election was that the Nazi
party, the British National PArty (GDP), rose 1.2% to 1.9% -
without, however, getting any candidate elected. An
indication that the radical right wing also gained a greater
foothold - as in the other European countries.
The UK was relatively hard hit by the global economic
crisis, which seriously hit in 2008. The country's GDP
fell 5.1% in 2009. Yet unemployment rose only slowly in
2009: from 7.2% in March to 7.8% in December. Youth
unemployment was then up 19.7%. Unemployment was well below
the EU average of 10%. Nevertheless, the country was in a
critical situation due to large government borrowing. The
new British government therefore launched a tough crisis
package in June 2010:
- VAT was raised from 17.5% to 20
- 17 billion to be saved UK £ on public budgets
- Public employee salaries are frozen until 2012
- The retirement age is set up to 66 years
- Social spending is regulated by the consumer price
index instead of the general price index. The same
applies to public pensions. It will save the state
another 6 billion. UK £ annually
- Child support is frozen for a 2-year period
- Housing support gets a max. £ 400 per cap. week. It
will save an additional $ 1.8 billion. UK £
- A medical examination of disability pensioners is
introduced from 2013 - to see if they still qualify for
In July, the government announced further drastic cuts to
health. On the other hand, the government did not touch the
war budget. In 2010, the country spent approx. 40 billion UK
£ on the military.
The crisis package thus particularly affected the
country's poorest and public employees. On the other hand,
there was good news for the companies. The corporate tax
rate was lowered from 28 to 24% and for the smaller
companies from 21 to 20%.
In October, the Liberal-Conservative government adopted
the most widespread welfare degradation since World War II.
Until 2015, the government will reduce public spending by
approx. 20%, or approx. 700 billion Kr. About half a million
public servants are fired. The culture is cut by 50%. Social
benefits are cut by 20-40%. On the other hand, schools are
exempt from cuts - unlike Denmark where the government's
education policy has led to massive deterioration in most of
the country's municipalities.