Covid-19 drives UK to worst in 300 years crash in output

Photo: EPA Rishi Sunak

Britain’s economy has suffered a severe blow from pandemic resulting in a sharp fall in output, Reuters reported. Data shows that the slump was 9.9% in 2020 but however towards the end of the year UK managed to avoid recession and headed back to expected growth in 2021.

Official figures showed gross domestic product (GDP) grew 1.0% from October through December. This makes it likely that Britain will escape two straight quarters of contraction - the standard definition of recession in Europe - even though the economy is set to shrink in early 2021 due to the effects of a third Covid-19 wave of lockdown. Britain’s economy grew 1.2% in December alone, after a 2.3% fall in output in November when there was a partial lockdown, pointing to greater resilience to restrictions than at the start of the pandemic. That left output 6.3% lower than in February before the start of the pandemic, the Office for National Statistics said. However, the Bank of England forecasts the economy will shrink by 4% in the first three months of 2021 because of the new lockdown and Brexit disruption. It thinks it will take until early 2022 before GDP regains its pre-COVID size, assuming vaccination continues at the current rapid pace, which outstrips the rest of Europe’s. Many economists think recovery will take longer.

“Today’s figures show that the economy has experienced a serious shock as a result of the pandemic, which has been felt by countries around the world,” finance minister Rishi Sunak said.

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