UK economy grew by just 2.1% in August as recovery drastically slowed

The UK economy grew by 2.1% in August as the pace of recovery slowed, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has said.

This rise in GDP was less than half of what analysts were expecting, who predicted growth of 4.6%.

It was also a major slowdown from the 6.4% expansion in July, despite the Government’s extremely popular Eat Out to Help Out scheme where restaurant customers received a discount on meals on some weekdays in August.

The ONS’s deputy national statistician for economic statistics, Jonathan Athow, said: ‘The economy continued to recover in August but by less than in recent months.

‘There was strong growth in restaurants and accommodation due to the easing of lockdown rules, the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, and people choosing summer staycations. However, many other parts of the service sector recorded muted growth.

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‘Construction also continued its recovery, with a significant boost from housebuilding.

‘There was limited growth in manufacturing, which remains down on its pre-pandemic level, with car and aircraft production still much lower than the start of the year.’

The ONS said this follows an expansion of 6.6% in July, 9.1% in June and 2.7% in May, following a record 19.5% plunge in April.

Statistics also showed a decline of 9.3% compared to the same period last year.

The country’s emergence from lockdown measures in recent months has paved the way for a recovery in many sectors of the economy, but concerns have been raised for the future as a second wave of the disease has started to hit.

The Government has imposed a 10pm curfew for bars and restaurants across the UK, with further restrictions expected in the coming weeks on a local level but also possibly nationally.

It comes as the country recorded another huge jump in coronavirus cases yesterday, with 17,540 more people testing positive in 24 hours.

That is a huge leap from Wednesday, when cases doubled in the space of a week with 14,162 new infections.

The Department of Health said another 77 deaths were recorded on Thursday, raising the death toll to 57,347.

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