UK economy grew by 0.4 per cent in August but it is STILL below pre-coronavirus levels as revised official statistics show that GDP actually went backwards in July
- The UK economy grew by 0.4 per cent in August this year after Covid rules eased
- But UK PLC was still 0.8 per cent below where it was before the Covid pandemic
- Stats have been revised downwards for July as economy shrunk by 0.1 per cent
The UK economy grew by 0.4 per cent in August this year – but it is still below pre-pandemic levels.
Numbers published this morning by the Office for National Statistics revealed that UK gross domestic product remains 0.8 per cent lower than it was before the coronavirus crisis.
Meanwhile, the ONS said its figures for July have been revised downwards in a move likely to cause alarm in the Treasury.
The ONS originally said the economy had grown by 0.1 per cent in July but it has now been changed to a 0.1 per cent contraction.
It is the first time the economy has shrunk since January this year when the winter lockdown wreaked havoc.
The UK economy grew by 0.4 per cent in August this year – but it is still below pre-pandemic levels
The ONS said that services output grew by 0.3 per cent in August with output in consumer-facing services increasing by 1.2 per cent
The ONS said growth picked up in August as the economy benefited from the full lifting of coronavirus restrictions, which boosted hospitality and events sectors.
But the August growth figure was lower than expected, showing signs of a slowdown in the UK’s bounce back from the pandemic as global supply chain problems take their toll.
The economy will now need to surge by 2.1 per cent in September if it is to remain on track with the Bank of England’s forecast for overall growth of 2.1 per cent in the third quarter of 2021.
The ONS changed its assessment of the economic picture in July because of downwardly revised data relating to the manufacture of cars, oil and gas.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: ‘Our economic recovery is continuing with more employees on payrolls than ever before and the UK forecast to have the fastest growth in the G7 this year.
‘As we rebuild from the pandemic, we are taking action to ensure our economy remains strong by helping people find great work through our Plan for Jobs.’
Darren Morgan, director of economic statistics at the ONS, said: ‘The economy picked up in August as bars, restaurants and festivals benefited from the first full month without Covid-19 restrictions in England.
‘This was offset by falls in health activity with fewer people visiting GPs and less testing and tracing.
‘However, later and slightly weaker data from a number of industries now mean we estimate the economy fell a little overall in July.’
The revised GDP figure for July was the first contraction since January this year, when the winter lockdown weighed heavily on the economy.
Growth rebounded strongly in the second quarter, with GDP rising by 5.5 per cent, but the recovery has been more modest than expected, with supply chain problems and the lorry driver crisis holding back the economy.
The ONS data showed that output in the construction sector fell for the second month running, down by 0.2 per cent in August following a one per cent decline in July as supply issues have led to shortages of key materials and rocketing prices.
Having recovered in April to be 0.9 per cent above levels seen before the pandemic, the construction sector is now 1.5 per cent below its pre-Covid level.
Consumer-facing services continued their recovery in August but output remains 4.7 per cent below pre-pandemic levels
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the UK’s economic recovery ‘is continuing’ – but the downwardly revised figures for July are likely to cause some alarm in the Treasury
The ONS said that services output grew by 0.3 per cent in August with output in consumer-facing services increasing by 1.2 per cent.
All other services saw output increase by 0.1 per cent, pushing them to 0.4 per cent above their pre-pandemic levels.
However, overall consumer-facing services remain 4.7 per cent below the level recorded in February 2020.
Boosts in the accommodation, hospitality, arts, entertainment and recreation industries ‘contributed most positively’ to services growth in August, the ONS said.