Scotland

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Local Government and Political Parties

The Scottish Development Department is responsible for general policy in regard to local government. A reorganization of local government in Scotland was made effective in 1975, when the counties and burghs were abolished and replaced by nine regions and three island areas. The regions (but not the island areas) are divided into districts. Each of these units is administered by a council, whose members are elected to 4-year terms. The island areas, numbering some 700 islands and islets to the north and west, the regions, and the former counties, all of which are described in separate articles, are listed in the accompanying table. Two leading British parties, the Conservative Party and the Labor Party, have shared Scottish seats in Parliament about equally since the 1920s. The Scottish Nationalist Party, which was founded in 1927 in order to press for complete self-government, has played a minor role in the politics of the country.

Economy

Many aspects of the economy of Scotland are covered in the article on Great Britain. The currency of Great Britain is the legal tender of Scotland. Both agriculture and industry are important in the economy of Scotland. The chief exports are petroleum and natural gas and manufactured goods, especially burlap, clothing, machinery, textiles, and whiskey. The chief imports are food and iron. The center of Scottish trade unionism is the Scottish Trades Union Congress, with an affiliated membership of more than 980,000.

Agriculture

More than three-fourths of the land is used for agriculture; approximately equal areas are devoted to farming and grazing. The most important crops are wheat, oats, and potatoes. Other crops include barley, turnips, and fruit. Livestock and livestock products are also of major importance. Sheep are raised in both the Highlands and island groups and the Southern Uplands. Scotland is also known for its beef and dairy cattle and for its dairy products.

Forestry and Fishing

About 607,000 hectares (about 1.5 million acres) of Scotland is forested, 60 percent of which is publicly owned. In Scotland fishing is more important than forestry. The principal fishing ports are Aberdeen, Peterhead, Fraserburgh, and Lerwick. The catch consists mainly of whitefish, herring, crabs, and lobsters.

Mining and Manufacturing

Coal is the chief mineral wealth, and the industry is nationalized. Nearly all the major coal deposits are found in the Central Lowlands. Limestone, clay, and silica are also mined. Iron ores and other metals have been virtually exhausted. North Sea petroleum and natural gas are sent by pipeline to points in the Orkney and Shetland islands and to the mainland. Major oil refineries are located at Grangemouth and Dundee. About 36 percent of the labor force is employed in manufacturing. Shipbuilding, steelmaking, and the manufacture of electronic items are major industries and are concentrated in the region surrounding Glasgow. Other important manufactures include woolen textiles and yarn, chemicals, machinery of many varieties, vehicles, and whiskey.

Transportation and Communications

About 48,000 km (about 30,000 mi) of highways and about 6400 km (about 4000 mi) of railroads serve Scotland. Public buses provide transportation throughout most of the country, and many transatlantic flights use Prestwick Airport near Glasgow. Most radio and television programs originate in England. About 17 daily newspapers and 120 weeklies are published in the country.

Questions to the text:

What are the three groups of Scottish islands?

What are the principal firths of Scotland?

How long is Scottish coastline?

Into what regions Scotland may be divided?

What is the highest peak in Scotland and what is its height?

What river is considered the main navigation stream in Scotland?

What is average July temperature of the West Coastal region?

What are the most common species of conifers in Scotland?

Where in Scotland the soil is more fertile then anywhere else (in Scotland)?

What population groups Scots divide themselves into?

What is the population of the Scotland’s most populous city?

In what century Scotland’s oldest universities where built and what are they?

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