UK economy delivers record growth in 2021 amid Covid rebound
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Eurozone growth slowed in the first quarter of 2022, new data from the EU’s statistics agency shows. GDP – the most comprehensive measure of a nation’s economy – stalled to 0.2 percent in the euro area in the first quarter (Q1) of 2021, compared to 0.3 percent in the last three months of the year. Meanwhile, growth for the whole EU slowed to 0.4 percent in the first quarter of this year compared to the final quarter of last year.
The data, published by Eurostat last week, came after the bloc generally appeared to bounce back from the pandemic last year.
However, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24 may have a continued impact on economic growth in Europe.
Despite the EU’s economic gloom, the UK could experience a boom in some areas of its economy.
A forecast by the London-based Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) looked at post-Brexit Britain’s economic future.
Its ‘World Economic League Table 2022’, published in December, touted the UK as a “leader” in digital, creative and tech businesses.
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The report read: “The UK Government hopes to harness its new position outside the EU to increase competitiveness and promote financial services and new economy exports to the whole world.
“More broadly, ensuring that post-Brexit immigration rules can meet the demands of the economy for both ‘skilled’ and ‘unskilled’ workers will be pivotal for the economy’s long-run performance.
“This is especially important for the UK’s ‘flat white economy’, the merger of digital and tech where the UK is the clear European leader.
“But where it can only keep its lead if it retains access to a skilled and creative labour force.”
Another report by CEBR in March last year found that the UK’s so-called ‘flat white economy’ is now 28 percent larger than its manufacturing sector.
The name of this growing sector is a reference to the way start-ups may work from coffee shops to save money.
Douglas McWilliams, the deputy chairman of CEBR first coined the phrase in his book, ‘The Flat White Economy’, released in 2016.
The expert claimed in the report last year that since his book, the sector has grown so important, it may now contribute more to the UK economy than any other area.
He wrote: “The most important thing that has happened since is that the sector’s share of the UK economy has continued to rise.
“With digital technologies permeating an ever-increasing share of economic activities, the boundaries between tech and non-tech sectors are starting to blur.
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“On some definitions the flat white economy could now be most of GDP.”
The expert said the sector has increased from around 10.5 percent of GDP in the first half of the decade to 12 percent in early 2020.
Over the same period, UK manufacturing has fallen from being roughly equal to the flat white economy to around 9 percent of GDP.
Last year, the UK economy as a whole grew an impressive 7.5 percent as the country continued its recovery out of the pandemic.
The figure marked Britain’s fastest annual growth rate since World War 2.
The rebound came after the UK’s GDP fell by 9.4 percent in 2020, as the first wave of COVID-19 hit the nation.
GDP remained positive in the final quarter of last year at one percent, according to the Office for National Statistics.
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