The UK economy grew in April at the fastest pace since July 2020, according to official data, but is still below pre-pandemic levels.
Gross domestic product (GDP) – a measure of the size of the economy – grew 2.3 percent, partly due to a 3.4 percent jump in the service sector as pubs and non-essential retailers welcomed customers.
Retail sales grew sharply with a monthly growth of 9.2 percent in April 2021. Clothing sales increased by 69.4 per cent as the easing of lockdown measures allowed for more socialisation.
The Office for National Statistics reported that bars, shops and restaurants saw an increase in spending, with the construction industry producing a decrease of 2 percent.
Caravan Park and Vacation allows growth of 68.6 percent as families also take advantage of the ability to re-travel across the country. Hairdressers and other personal services increased by 63.5 percent.
The services sector – which makes up about four-fifths of the economy – remains 4.1 percent below its pre-pandemic level, while the economy as a whole remains 3.7 percent smaller.
Experts predict the data will show the recovery continued in May and June, but pointed to challenges for the UK economy beyond the pandemic.
“The decline in manufacturing and production, which were less affected by the 2021 lockdown, reminds us that our focus should now be on the prospects for the economy in the second half of the year, as the temporary re-opening impacts off to provide strong monthly are gone. grows,” said Rory McQueen, chief economist at the National Institute for Economic and Social Research.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the figures were a “promising sign” that the economy was beginning to recover.
“With more than a million people going on leave in March and April and the workforce growing to work, it’s clear that our plan for jobs is working.”
Boris Johnson is expected to announce the next phase of reopening on Monday. Businesses that are still operating below capacity, such as wedding venues, and those that cannot open at all, such as nightclubs, urged the government not to postpone the June 21 date suggested to end all restrictions are doing.
Vaccines Minister Nadim Zhawi stressed the importance of being “really careful” when asked about the possibility of delaying the lifting of coronavirus restrictions in England on June 21.
“There have been some really tough battles against this virus and we don’t want to lose the hard battles that we’ve got through the vaccination program,” he told Times Radio Breakfast.
Travel restrictions have also proved controversial. Figures released on Friday showed Heathrow’s passenger numbers are 90 percent below pre-pandemic levels.
Heathrow said just 675,000 people traveled through West London Airport last month, compared to 6,769,000 in May 2019.
The latest official figures on trade show that the UK imported more goods from outside the EU in April than at any point since 1997, but exports from the country fell.
After two months of growth, overall exports excluding precious metals declined 0.6 per cent in April.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /