Britain’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by just 0.1 percent despite the end of all remaining Covid restrictions. Overall, this economic measure grew by 3.6 percent in the three months to July. But the slowdown in the rate of growth meant recovery while still happening had slowed in recent months.
The country’s economic rebound slowed further in July as a result of a surge in the Delta variant of coronavirus which forced workers to self-isolate and consumers to spend less.
Output rose by just 0.1 percent in July compared to the previous month according to the Office for National Statistics.
This is well below the one percent expansion in June and weaker than the 0.6 growth forecast predicted by a poll of economists by Reuters.
The 0.1 percent growth figure was the weakest monthly performance since January.
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This weaker than predicted performance meant GDP was at 2.1 percent below levels seen in February 2020 – the last full month which was unaffected by the Covid pandemic.
Overall, GDP grew by 3.6 percent in the three months to July 2021 as the easing of lockdown enabled consumers to return to high street shops and boosted spending in pubs, hotels and restaurants.
There was a notably strong growth of 118 percent in air transport in July as the easing of travel restrictions enabled more consumers to take foreign holidays.
However, the sharp rise was from a low base, while output in the sector remains 77 percent below pre-Covid levels.
The fall of 19.5 percent in April coincided with the fall seen during the first month of full lockdown in 2020.
Both of these drops are the largest monthly falls since records began in 1997.
Deputy national statistician Jonathan Athow told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “If you take March and April together the fall was 25 percent.
“So in two months, the economy shrank by a quarter.
“The biggest fall we have seen before was just over two percent – so it’s 10 times the size of the largest fall we have seen before the coronavirus. Virtually every sector has been shrinking.”
Despite the sluggish growth, the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak remained positive about economic output.
He said: “Our recovery is well underway thanks to the success of the vaccination rollout and the roadmap, with more employees on payrolls than at any point since last March.
“I am confident that – supported by our Plan for Jobs – we’ll continue to recover from the pandemic, we’ll see more new jobs, and we will Build Back Better.”
Analysts at Investec Economics dubbed Britain the “self-isolation nation”, with more than 680,000 ping notifications sent out in one week.
These experts said the pingdemic caused labour shortages and dampened the country’s economic outlook for the near term.