officially the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, is a sovereign state in Europe. Lying off the north-western coast of the European mainland, the country includes the island of Great Britain—a term also applied loosely to refer to the whole country—the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK that shares a land border with another state (the Republic of Ireland). Apart from this land border, the UK is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to its east, the English Channel to its south and the Celtic Sea to its south-southwest. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. The UK has an area of 93,800 square miles (243,000 km2), making it the 80th-largest sovereign state in the world and the 11th-largest in Europe. The coastline of Great Britain is 11,073 miles (17,820 km) long. It is connected to continental Europe by the Channel Tunnel, which at 31 miles (50 km) (24 miles (38 km) underwater) is the longest underwater tunnel in the world. The United Kingdom has a temperate climate, with plentiful rainfall all year round. The temperature varies with the seasons seldom dropping below −11 °C (12 °F) or rising above 35 °C (95 °F). The prevailing wind is from the south-west and bears frequent spells of mild and wet weather from the Atlantic Ocean, although the eastern parts are mostly sheltered from this wind since the majority of the rain falls over the western regions the eastern parts are therefore the driest. Atlantic currents, warmed by the Gulf Stream, bring mild winters; especially in the west where winters are wet and even more so over high ground. Summers are warmest in the south-east of England, being closest to the European mainland, and coolest in the north. Heavy snowfall can occur in winter and early spring on high ground, and occasionally settles to great depth away from the hills.
Standard of living
The United Kingdom performs well in many measures of well-being relative to most other countries in the Better Life Index. The United Kingdom ranks above the average in personal security, environmental quality, civic engagement, social connections, health status, jobs and earnings, housing, and subjective well-being. Money, while it cannot buy happiness, is an important means to achieving higher living standards. In the United Kingdom, the average household net-adjusted disposable income per capita is USD 27,029 a year, more than the OECD average of USD 25,908 a year. But there is a considerable gap between the richest and poorest – the top 20% of the population earn nearly six times as much as the bottom 20%.
The United Kingdom is a developed country and has the world's fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP and tenth-largest economy by purchasing power parity. The UK is considered to have a high-income economy and is categorized as very high in the Human Development Index, currently ranking14th in the world. It was the world's first industrialized country and the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The UK remains a great power with considerable economic, cultural, military, scientific, and political influence internationally. It is a recognized nuclear weapons state and its military expenditure ranks fifth or sixth in the world. The UK has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946. It has been a member state of the European Union (EU) and its predecessor, the European Economic Community (EEC), since 1973; it is also a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Council of Europe, the G7 finance ministers, the G7 forum, the G20, NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and the World Trade Organization (WTO). The UK has a partially regulated market economy. Based on market exchange rates the UK is today the fifth-largest economy in the world and the second-largest in Europe after Germany. HM Treasury, led by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, is responsible for developing and executing the British government's public finance policy and economic policy. The Bank of England is the UK's central bank and is responsible for issuing notes and coins in the nation's currency, the pound sterling. Banks in Scotland and Northern Ireland retain the right to issue their own notes, subject to retaining enough Bank of England notes in reserve to cover their issue. Pound sterling is the world's third-largest reserve currency (after the US Dollar and the Euro). Since 1997 the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee, headed by the Governor of the Bank of England, has been responsible for setting interest rates at the level necessary to achieve the overall inflation target for the economy that is set by the Chancellor each year. The UK service sector makes up around 73% of GDP. London is one of the three "command centers" of the global economy (alongside New York City and Tokyo), it is the world's largest financial centre alongside New York, and it has the largest city GDP in Europe. Edinburgh is also one of the largest financial centers in Europe. Tourism is very important to the British economy and, with over 27 million tourists arriving in 2004, the United Kingdom is ranked as the sixth major tourist destination in the world and London has the most international visitors of any city in the world. The creative industries accounted for 7% GVA in 2005 and grew at an average of 6% per annum between 1997 and 2005. The automotive industry is a significant part of the UK manufacturing sector and employs over 800,000 people, with a turnover of some £52 billion, generating £26.6 billion of exports. The aerospace industry of the UK is the second- or third-largest national aerospace industry in the world depending upon the method of measurement and has an annual turnover of around £25 billion. The pharmaceutical industry plays an important role in the UK economy and the country has the third-highest share of global pharmaceutical R&D expenditures (after the United States and Japan). Agriculture is intensive, highly mechanised and efficient by European standards, producing about 60% of food needs with less than 1.6% of the labour force (535,000 workers).
Whilst education in England is the responsibility of the Secretary of State for Education, the day-to-day administration and funding of state schools is the responsibility of local authorities. Education is mandatory from ages five to sixteen (15 if born in late July or August). In 2011, the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) rated 13–14-year-old pupils in England and Wales 10th in the world for maths and 9th for science. The majority of children are educated in state-sector schools, a small proportion of which select on the grounds of academic ability. Two of the top ten performing schools in terms of GCSE results in 2006 were state-run grammar schools. Over half of students at the leading universities of Cambridge and Oxford had attended state schools. Despite a fall in actual numbers the proportion of children in England attending private schools has risen to over 7%. In 2010, more than 45% of places at the University of Oxford and 40% at the University of Cambridge were taken by students from private schools, even though they educate just 7% of the population. England has the two oldest universities in English-speaking world, Universities of Oxford and Cambridge (jointly known as "Oxbridge") with history of over eight centuries. The United Kingdom has 9 universities featured in the Times Higher Education top 100 rankings, making it second to the United States in terms of representation.
Process of buying Property
Stamp duty of 1-7% is charged in the process of buying-selling property. Property tax is determined by the local authorities according the value of the property. Legal fees are about 1%. An amount of totally between 2 and 8% is charged for costs and duties. After your offer has been accepted you may wish to arrange for a surveyor, solicitor or an estate agent. Being property owner in the UK doesn’t give the right for a residence permit, but you can apply for a temporary residence permit and you can benefit of the advantages of a visa. At purchases of property over 2,000,000 Sterling, you can directly apply for a permanent residence permit.