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Europe
Category:
Economy

Britain's GDP falls 20.4% in April as economy is paralysed by lockdown

  • Britain's GDP falls 20.4% in April as economy is paralysed by lockdown
    Boris Johnson insists UK economy can bounce back after being 'badly hit'. Britain's GDP falls 20.4% in April as economy is paralysed by lockdown
Region:
Europe
Category:
Economy
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By Reuters, BBC, The Guardian
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Latest figures reflect many businesses closing down and workers on placed on furlough.
Boris Johnson insists UK economy can bounce back after being 'badly hit'.

Britain’s economy shrank by a record 20.4% in April as the first full month of the coronavirus lockdown triggered an economic crash three times greater than the 2008 financial crisis.

Revealing the scale of the downturn, the official figures for gross domestic product (GDP) from the Office for National Statistics showed no area of the economy was left unscathed as the government imposed tight controls on business and social life to limit the spread of the disease.

The decline was the largest since comparable monthly records began in 1997 and was more than triple the previous record fall of 5.8% in March, when the lockdown was imposed late in the month.
 

Boris Johnson insists UK economy can bounce back after being 'badly hit'.

Boris Johnson has insisted the UK economy can bounce back after the lockdown largest drop in GDP since records began.

The prime minister said he was “not surprised” at official statistics indicating the UK during April had experienced the largest single drop in economy activity since records began as a result of the coronavirus shutdown.

Speaking to broadcasters, Boris Johnson said:

We’ve always been in no doubt this was going to be a very serious public health crisis but also have big, big economic knock-on effects. I’m afraid I’m not surprised by the figures we have seen.

The UK is heavily dependent on services, we’re a dynamic creative economy, we depend so much on human contact.

We have been very badly hit by this.

The ONS said the monthly decline in April broke records across the board with all the main drivers of economic growth plunging into reverse, as people were told to stay at home to save lives, businesses were forced to close and millions of workers placed on furlough.

The country’s dominant services sector shrank by almost a fifth, fuelled by the closure of non-essential shops on the high street, pubs, restaurants and hotels, and evaporating car sales.

Air transport shrank by 92.8% in the biggest fall of any sector as flights were grounded across Britain and other countries. After the closure of hotels, pubs, bars and restaurants, the accommodation and food services sector shrank by 88% on the month.

The ONS said a 20.3% decline in production – which includes factory output as well as energy and mining – was more than double the collapse recorded during the miners’ strikes and Winter of Discontent of the 1970s, in the biggest slump since records began in 1968.

With cranes and diggers across the country falling idle as the virus spread, construction output plunged by 40%.