UK economic growth stutters as Covid-19 restrictions bite

Time 7:56 am, December 10, 2020

The UK economy’s growth slowed down strongly in October as Covid-19 restrictions began to bite, latest official figures show.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said gross domestic product (GDP) rose 0.4 per cent month-on-month in October, marking the sixth month in a row of recovering output from April’s recession.

But growth slowed down significantly from 1.1 per cent in September as new restrictions were brought in to try to curb rising cases of coronavirus, hitting pubs and restaurants hard.

The ONS added that the economy still remains 7.9 per cent below pre-pandemic levels.

Experts are predicting GDP will shift into reverse in November and the final quarter of 2020 due to the second national lockdown in England.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: ‘I know people are worried about the winter months, but we will continue to support people through our Plan For Jobs to ensure nobody is left without hope or opportunity.’

The figures show that the services sector was the hardest hit in October, with growth almost grinding to a halt – at 0.2 per cent against one per cent in September as pubs and restaurants were hit by the 10pm curfew and tighter restrictions.

Jonathan Athow, deputy national statistician at the ONS, said: ‘The UK economy has now grown for six months running but still remains around eight per cent below its pre-pandemic peak.

‘Public services output increased, while car manufacturing continued to recover and retail again grew strongly.

‘However, the reintroduction of some restrictions saw services growth hit, with large falls in hospitality, meaning the economy overall grew only modestly.’

James Batchelor's avatar

James – or Batch as he’s known – started at Car Dealer in 2010, first as the work experience boy, eventually becoming editor in 2013. He worked for Auto Express as editor-at-large and was the face of Carbuyer’s YouTube reviews. In 2020, he went freelance and now writes for a number of national titles and contributes regularly to Car Dealer. In October 2021 he became Car Dealer's associate editor.

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