Virus crisis drives ‘largest UK recession on record’


The UK has been tipped into the “largest recession on record”, according to official figures charting the impact of the coronavirus crisis on the economy.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that the enforced hibernation of activity through the COVID-19 lockdown meant gross domestic product (GDP) slumped by 20.4% in the second quarter of the year following a dip of 2.2% in the first three months of 2020.

It said the measures to limit the spread of the virus meant the economy was a sixth below its pre-crisis level in February as May’s recovery in growth gathered further momentum during June.

April proved the biggest drag as it was the first full month of curbs on non-essential businesses and services.

The effects of the lockdown has stoked a crisis for employment with separate figures released on Tuesday showing the biggest slump for employment for more than a decade in the April to June quarter.

Data covering July showed 730,000 fewer people on payrolls since the lockdown started.

The ONS also pointed to a record fall in productivity during the second quarter of the year as more than nine million workers were placed on furlough.

It measured that output per worker fell by a fifth compared with the first three months of 2020.

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