Britain’s economic recovery from the first wave of Covid-19 was almost stalled as new restrictions were imposed on the hospitality sector in the fall, according to the latest official data.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that national product – or gross domestic product – rose 0.4% in October.
Although it was the sixth consecutive monthly increase since May, the Office for National Statistics said activity remained nearly 8% below its pre-crisis level.
The economy is expected to contract in November as a result of the four-week lockdown in England, but the Office for National Statistics said there were already signs of tightening restrictions having an impact on the services sector in October.
Breaking down GDP into three major sectors showed output rose 1.3% in October, construction rose 1%, but services – which account for around 80% of GDP – increased by only 0.2%.
Within services, the Office for National Statistics said stricter social distancing rules, which included a fire break in Wales and the caste system in England, meant that accommodation production and food retail trade fell by more than 14%.
The Office for National Statistics numbers show a marked slowdown in growth since the summer. The economy expanded 9.1% in June, 6.3% in July, 2.2% in August and 1.1% in September, before further slowing down in October.
The Office of Budget Responsibility – the body responsible for the government’s economic outlook – said last month that it expects GDP to drop by more than 11% this year, the biggest drop in more than 300 years.
With some analysts expecting November to post an 8% contraction in the economy, Finance Minister Rishi Sunak has pledged to continue supporting jobs and growth.
Our unprecedented support package has protected more than 12 million jobs and millions of businesses across the UK – and the NHS has provided us with all the resources needed to stop the spread of the virus including £ 6 billion to ensure that the UK was the first country in the world to put forward. Vaccine, “the chancellor said.
“I know people are worried about the winter months, but we will continue to support people with our ‘jobs plan’ to ensure that no one is left without hope or opportunity.”
Jonathan Atho, deputy national statistician for the Office for National Statistics for Economic Statistics, said: “The UK economy has now grown for six consecutive months, but is still around 8% below its peak before the outbreak.
Public service production increased, vehicle manufacturing continued to recover and retail trade grew strongly again. However, the reimposition of some restrictions hurt service growth, with significant declines in hospitality, meaning that the economy in general grew only modestly.
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