UK economy growth continues as lockdown measures ease

11 June 2021, 07:58

Economy growth: Shoppers on Oxford street in London
Economy growth: Shoppers on Oxford street in London. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

New figures show the UK's economy grew by 2.3 percent in April as coronavirus restrictions were eased.

It is the fastest level of growth in GDP since July last year, but the economy still remains below pre-pandemic levels.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said gross domestic product (GDP) - a measure of economic growth - was up 2.3% in April although it remains below pre-pandemic levels. In July last year the economy grew 7.3%.

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It would have been higher if not for a slowdown in the construction sector compared to strong growth in March.

Non-essential retailers drove much of the growth as they welcomed customers back into stores from April 12 in England, with clothes stores seeing a boost of 69.4%.

Overall growth in the services sector was 3.4%, although it remains 4.1% below pre-pandemic levels of February 2020.

This included restaurants, bars and cafes where customers could dine and drink outdoors again, seeing a 39% rise in growth.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: "Today's figures are a promising sign that our economy is beginning to recover.

"With more than a million people coming off furlough across March and April and the number of employees in work rising, it is clear that our Plan for Jobs is working.

"But I know there are people who still need our support, which is why the furlough scheme is in place until September to protect as many jobs as possible".