The novel coronavirus hit on the economy of the United Kingdom caused a 20.4 per cent contraction in April – the highest ever fall in a single month.
During April, when the entire country was under lockdown for the entire month for the first time, the GDP of the country slumped by more than a fifth after falling by 5.8 per cent drop in the previous month.
There has been a 25 per cent drop in the UK Plc since February as the country now faces its worst recession in 300 years when the entire Europe was hit by the Great Frost.
The scale of the devastation being inflicted on the economy by lockdown was reflected by the slump which was worse than predictions of analysts.
The hardest hit segment was construction sector with a 40 per cent drop in April while a 24.3 per cent slump was reported for the manufacturing segment. The services sector, which accounts for a very large proportion of the UK economy, slumped by 19 per cent in the same month.
These numbers are expected to put pressure on UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to find out a way to ease the Covid-19 related restrictions. Relaxation to the two-metre social distancing rule imposed on the hospitality and retail sectors is being demanded by cabinet ministers including Chancellor Rishi Sunak and swathes of Tory MPs.
It is likely that the worst of the economic impact is represented by the slump, said ONS spokesman Jonathan Athow. However cautions have been raised that many of the lost jobs would not come back quickly and it will be years till the UK economy will be able to completely recover to pre-crisis era.
“April’s fall in GDP is the biggest the UK has ever seen, more than three times larger than last month and almost ten times larger than the steepest pre-Covid-19 fall,” Athow said.
“In April the economy was around 25 per cent smaller than in February. Virtually all areas of the economy were hit, with pubs, education, health and car sales all giving the biggest contributions to this historic fall. Manufacturing and construction also saw significant falls, with manufacture of cars and house building particularly badly affected,” he added.
The pandemic also severely hit the trade of the UK with the rest of the world as export and import of cars have fallen along slump in fuels, works of art and clothing, Athow said. He added that it was “highly likely that April will be the low point of economic output.”
“It is really too early to know how quickly economic activity will recover in the coming months,” he however added.
The economy of the UK is slumping at a much faster rate than those being witnessed in most of the other developed countries, warned shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds.
“What particularly concerns me is that actually we’re not just looking at one month of economic damage. There was a report that came out a couple of days ago from the OECD and it suggested that the drop in GDP for this year for the UK would actually be worse than for every other industrialized nation,” Dodds said in a television interview.
(Adapted from DailyMail.co.uk)