COVID-19 Pandemic: UK officially in recession for first time in 11 years

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The UK economy suffered its biggest slump on record between April and June as coronavirus lockdown measures pushed the country officially into recession.

The economy shrank 20.4% compared with the first three months of the year.

Household spending plunged as shops were ordered to close, while factory and construction output also fell.

This pushed the UK into its first technical recession, defined as two straight quarters of economic decline since 2009.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the economy bounced back in June as government restrictions on movements started to ease.

Jonathan Athow, the 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.”

The ONS said the collapse in output was driven by the closure of shops, hotels, restaurants, schools and car repair shops.

The services sector, which powers four-fifths of the economy, suffered the biggest quarterly decline on record.

The hospitality sector was also hard hit, while factory shutdowns resulted in the slowest car production since 1954.

Rishi Sunak, the UK’s chancellor, said the economic slump would lead to more job losses in the coming months.

He said: “Hundreds of thousands of people have already lost their jobs, and sadly in the coming months many more will.

“But while there are difficult choices to be made ahead, we will get through this, and I can assure people that nobody will be left without hope or opportunity.”

BBC