(1) Chemicals £52bn
From food additives to fragrances, the UK economy churns out many tonnes of chemicals each year, mainly produced in the north of England and Scotland.
(2) Cars £24.8bn
Whether it’s MINIs made in Oxford or Jaguars from Birmingham, Britain’s car industry continues to hold up better than expected after decades of turbulence. In fact, 2015 was the industry’s best year in a decade, with production at its highest in years and almost 80 per cent of the vehicles produced exported.
(3) Planes, jets and spacecraft £24.7bn
Following hot on the heels of four-wheeled vehicles, British producers of these slightly faster modes of transport also benefit from healthy worldwide demand. The UK’s aerospace sector is the largest in the world, and is responsible for the wings on an Airbus A380 and the engines of a Boeing 787.
(4) Art 11.3bn
British exports of art have more than doubled since 2005, with London auction-houses widely seen as the best place in Europe to flog a painting if the seller wants to maximise its value. Much-hyped YBAs like Damien Hirst seem to single-handedly play a big role in the international value of the British art – the British conceptual artist broke records when a two-day sale of his art brought in more than £111m in 2008.
(5) Medical devices £4bn
With ten per cent of the world’s best medical schools based in the UK, it’s no surprise that Britain is so good at churning out innovative medical technology – or that such devices are so popular with the rest of the world.