Oxford Street (1)

The UK economy has officially entered a recession after contracting for the second consecutive quarter. 

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the UK economy shrank by 20.4% between April and June compared with the first three months of the year – the biggest drop on record.

Sparked by the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the recession was “something that is unprecedented”.

There is cause for optimism, however, with growth of 8.7% in June following a 1.8% rise in May, suggesting a somewhat quicker bounce.

Jonathan Athow, deputy national statistician for economic statistics, said: “Despite this, gross domestic product (GDP) in June still remains a sixth below its level in February, before the virus struck.”

With the UK’s services sector accounting for around 80% of the entire economy, it’s no surprise to see that is where the majority of the pain was felt as a result of lockdown. Shops, restaurants, hotels were all forced to close and were the main cause of the decline.

It follows the news on Tuesday that the number of people in work fell by 220,000 between April and June, while many argue the government’s furlough scheme is artificially propping up employment numbers.

With a 22.1% contraction since the end of 2019, the UK’s economic performance during the Covid-19 pandemic has been one of the worst among advanced economies. German and US contractions are roughly half of the UK’s, while only Spain boasts a worse record with 22.7%.

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