UK economy shrank by colossal 20.4% in April

Official figures show that the British economy shrank by a colossal 20.4% in April, the first full month that the country was in its coronavirus lockdown

LONDON —
The British economy shrank by a colossal 20.4% in April, the first full month that the country was in its coronavirus lockdown, official figures showed Friday.

A large decline had been expected given that much of the economy was shuttered as part of the lockdown, which was put in place on March 23.

Following on from March’s 5.8% decline, the U.K. economy has contracted by around a quarter in just two months.

The Office for National Statistics said all areas of the economy were hit during April, in particular pubs, education, health and car sales.

Jonathan Athow, Deputy National Statistician for Economic Statistics, said April’s fall is “the biggest the U.K. has ever seen” and “almost 10 times larger than the steepest pre-COVID-19 fall.”

The U.K. was put into lockdown on March 23 and restrictions are slowly being eased. On Monday, for example, nonessential shops, such as department stores and electronic retailers, can reopen if they can abide by social distancing requirements.

Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the umbrella Trades Union Congress, said targeted support for hard-hit sectors of the economy is needed as well as a jobs guarantee to help those who lose work.

“The more people in work, the faster we will work our way out of recession,” she said.

source.

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