| 30 May 2024, Thursday |

UK economy grows 0.1% in July as shortages hamper post-Covid recovery

Britain’s economy grew by just 0.1 percent in July when the Covid-19 restrictions were lifted allowing businesses to fully reopen.

While it was the economy’s sixth consecutive month of growth, the increase was a slowdown on the one percent recorded in June, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Businesses struggled with staff shortages amid the “pingdemic” caused by the NHS’s over-sensitive Covid-19 app forcing people to isolate at home, while shortages of raw materials hit the construction sector.

Despite the slowdown, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said the UK’s recovery “is well underway thanks to the success of the vaccination rollout and the roadmap, with more employees on payrolls that 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,” he said.

The construction sector saw output drop 1.6 per cent in July, the fourth monthly contraction in a row, amid rising costs and shortages of materials, the ONS said, while retailers suffered a 2.5 per cent fall.

Jonathan Athow, ONS deputy statistician, said oil and gas provided the strongest boost to GDP contributing to the production output growth of 1.2 per cent, while car production also continued to recover from recent component shortages.

“The service sector saw no growth overall with growth in IT, financial services and outdoor events – which could operate more fully in July – offsetting large falls in retail and law firms,” Mr Athow said.

  • The National News