Retail lockdown plays a role in UK economy’s biggest fall since 1979

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Retail lockdown plays a role in UK economy's biggest fall since 1979
The second quarter is expected the full hit on the economy since the UK was brought to a standstill for much of it.
// UK economy suffered biggest quarterly fall since 1979, with lockdown being a major reason, says ONS
// Activity tumble 2.2%, worse than the forecast 2% fall

The UK economy contracted by more than initially thought between January and March as the coronavirus crisis saw activity tumble 2.2 per cent in the joint largest fall since 1979, official figures have shown.

The ONS had previously estimated a two per cent drop in first-quarter GDP, but said the revision came after data now showed a record 6.9 per cent plunge in March, the month the coronavirus was declared a pandemic and took a hold in the UK.

However, with the nationwide lockdown – especially the shutdown of high streets and shopping centres – coming into force in the later weeks of the quarter on March 23, the second quarter is expected the full hit on the economy since the UK was brought to a standstill for much of it.


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Recent ONS figures showed the economy plummeted by 20.4 per cent in April – the first full month of lockdown – marking the largest drop in a single month since records began.

“Our more detailed picture of the economy in the first quarter showed GDP shrank a little more than first estimated – this is now the largest quarterly fall since 1979,” ONS deputy national statistican Jonathan Athow said.

“Information from government showed health activities declined more than we previously showed.

“All main sectors of the economy shrank significantly in March as the effects of the pandemic hit.

“The sharp fall in consumer spending at the end of March led to a notable increase in households’ savings.”

with PA Wires

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