Delta cripples UK economy growth

Photo: EPA Rishi Sunak

UK economy slowed and almost halted its growth due to the spread of the Covid-19 Delta variant in the country, official figures related to mid-summer 2021 showed. Pandemic spread rapidly in UK after the lockdown restrictions were eased, Reuters elaborated. Economic output rose just 0.1% in July, the Office for National Statistics confirmed. This is the smallest monthly increase since January when UK went into a new national lockdown.

Economists had mostly expected month-on-month growth of 0.6% in gross domestic product. Finance minister Rishi Sunak said he was confident that the economy would continue to recover from the pandemic. But the slowdown in growth may support the voices who think it is premature to talk about withdrawing stimulus, despite growing inflation pressure. Earlier this week, Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey said he saw a levelling-off in the recovery taking place, with labour shortages, global supply chain problems and Brexit disruption combining to stunt the economic recovery.

Britain saw a sharp increase in Covid-19 cases in July as the Delta variant spread rapidly, leading to hundreds of thousands of workers being ordered to stay at home under self-isolation rules which have been relaxed. The dominant services sector was flat in July from June with output in consumer-facing services falling for the first time since January, driven mostly by a drop in the retail sector.

Industrial output grew by 1.2%, boosted by the return to production of an oil field, but manufacturing was flat. Construction output fell by a monthly 1.6%.

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