Categories
Business

UK economy grows 4.8% as hospitality rebounds after lockdown Business News

Britain’s economy grew 4.8% in the second quarter of 2021 as lockdown restrictions were lifted and Britons returned to shops, pubs and restaurants, according to the latest official figures.

The country’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew a further 1% in June, the Office for National Statistics said, creating five consecutive months of growth.

But the latest figures were below the Bank of England forecast, with economists expecting GDP to grow 5% as most of the economy reopens.

Al fresco dining reopened in April, the first month included in quarterly data, and further restrictions were lifted in May as Covid lockdown restrictions slowly eased for much of the quarter.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the latest figures show the UK is “recovering” from the Covid crisis, saying the figures show “the government’s plan for jobs is working”.

Mr. Sunak added, “Today’s figures show that our economy is on the mend, showing strong signs of recovery. I know there are still challenges to overcome, but I am confident in the strength of the UK economy and the resilience of the British people. “

Jonathan Athow, ONS deputy national statistician for economic statistics, said: “The UK economy continued to rebound strongly, with the hotel industry benefiting from the first full month of in-room dining, while advertising spending was boosted by reopening many services. “

The ONS has pointed out that Britain’s GDP is still around 2% below its pre-pandemic peak.

Despite the encouraging news for retail and hospitality, UK vehicle production fell 16.7% in the last quarter due to a “global semiconductor shortage”.

The skyrocketing of the Covid Delta variant and the rise in the number of people who self-isolate when ‘pinched’ by the NHS app has undermined some of the recent growth.

Nevertheless, the data mark a major improvement compared to the first months of the year. In the first quarter, the economy contracted 1.6% as it battled protracted lockdowns.

Ministers have been urged to do more to support struggling households when the holiday scheme ends in September, as economists warn 1.9 million workers remain in a “critical” position.

The unions urged the Chancellor to consider a permanent part-time leave scheme to protect workers’ jobs during recessions and downturns.

A guidance document developed by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) calls for the creation of a ‘part-time’ scheme that would allow employers to temporarily reduce workers’ hours, but ensure that the state covers most of the lost wages.

Similar programs have been around for a long time in countries like Germany, where it is known as kurzarbeit and is credited with saving jobs and dampening business productivity during economic crises.

Responding to Thursday’s GDP figures, Labor fictitious Chancellor Rachel Reeves said: “After overseeing the worst economic crisis of any G7 nation, the Conservatives have done nothing to address the insecurity of our economy.

“Our recovery must be built on secure, well-paying jobs, thriving industries, strong utilities, support for communities across the country and a sustainable future. The Conservatives did not succeed.

The Liberal Democrats have also warned the government against the idea that support could be pulled from the economy due to rising GDP.

“These figures should not make us believe that all our problems are solved. We still face potentially huge hurdles if the government ends the leave scheme and the universal credit increase at the end of next month, ”said Treasury party spokeswoman Christine Jardine.

Mr Sunak promised that the UK would “absolutely” not revert to austerity. “People are going to see very significant investments in public services. “

More about this article: Read More
Source: www.independent.co.uk
This notice was published: 2021-08-12 09:37:06

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *