The biggest economies in Europe were brought to a stand still last year, and intermittent lockdown measures have taken their toll. But as the vaccine rollout in the UK accelerates, Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey said recently that there is “light at the end of the tunnel”. The EU’s rollout has been hit with delay, and Chief Economist at Resolution Foundation, Jack Leslie, tells Express.co.uk that the UK economy is set to enjoy a quicker recovery than the eurozone. He said that this recovery will be sharper because of the successful distribution of jabs, but also because the UK economy endured a deeper recession initially.
Mr Leslie said: “I think the starting point is that the UK economy has fared worse over the past year than most of Europe. Countries like Spain Italy and France have also fared pretty badly.
“Most in Europe have had a better crisis, so there’s more scope for the UK to have strong growth in 2021 than Europe, so I would absolutely expect the UK to have stronger growth this year.
“The faster vaccine rollout will be a big deal, it has been a major success and will enable the UK to recover faster as well, but I think ultimately what a lot of the recovery is going to need is globally everyone getting back on their feet, it will be positive for the UK if Europe also has a strong recovery.”
The UK economy suffered a record annual slump in 2020, shrinking by 9.9 percent last year as coronavirus restrictions hit output.
The contraction in 2020 “was more than twice as much as the previous largest annual fall on record”, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.
Britain’s annual economic decline was the worst in the G7.
GDP fell by 3.5 percent in the US, by five percent in Germany, 8.3 percent in France and 8.9 percent in Italy.
The Canadian economy is forecast to have shrunk by five percent, and Japan’s by about 5.6 percent.
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The UK and EU have also clashed again over vaccines after European Council President Charles Michel accused the UK of blocking the export of coronavirus vaccines.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab sent a letter to Mr Michel on Tuesday night dismissing suggestions Britain had banned exports of the life saving doses.
He said: “I wanted to set the record straight. The Government has not blocked the export of a single COVID-19 vaccine or vaccine components.
“Any references to a UK export ban or any restrictions on vaccines are completely false.”
Mr Michel had said that Britain and the US “imposed an outright ban on the export of vaccines or vaccine components produced on their territory”.