Thu. Nov 17th, 2022

The great British pub helped boost the UK economy out of lockdown, spearheading a 4.8 per cent increase in GDP in the second quarter of 2021, new figures revealed today. 
The country’s gross domestic product (GDP) increased by a further 1 per cent in June, creating five consecutive months of growth, following a 0.6 per cent rise in May, the Office for National Statistics said.
Chancellor Rishi  Sunak hailed the figures, saying they were the best of any G7 nation.
Lockdown restrictions slowly eased through much of the quarter, with outdoor dining opened again in April and further restrictions were lifted in May.
However, GDP is still around two percentage points below its pre-pandemic peak.
Mr Sunak said: ‘Today’s figures show that our economy is on the mend showing strong signs of recovery, thanks to our Plan for Jobs and successful vaccine programme.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak hailed the figures, saying they were the best of any G7 nation.
‘I know there are still challenges to overcome, but I feel confident in the strength of the UK economy and the resilience of the British people.
‘With the fastest quarterly growth rate among the G7 economies we have exceeded expectations, and I’m pleased to see the UK bouncing back.’
However the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) inserted a not eof caution into the economic picture, saying business investment remained low.
Suren Thiru, its head of economics, said: ‘Strong growth in the second quarter may be the high point for the UK economy with economic activity likely to moderate in the third quarter as staff shortages, supply chain disruption and consumer caution to spend limits any gains from the lifting of restrictions in July.
‘Against this backdrop, policymakers must guard against complacency over the underlying strength of the recovery. 
‘A comprehensive rebuild strategy to turbocharge growth post-Covid is needed, alongside a clear plan for dealing with any future virus response, to give firms the confidence to start firing on all cylinders again.’
Another major contributor to the growth was GP surgeries across the country.
The number of people visiting their doctors for non-Covid complaints rose, increasing the consumption of health services by 5.1% in the second quarter.
This was also helped by Government spending on Test and Trace and the vaccination programme, the ONS said.
Deputy national statistician for economic statistics Jonathan Athow said: ‘The UK economy has continued to rebound strongly, with hospitality benefiting from the first full month of indoor dining, while spending on advertising was boosted by the reopening of many services.
‘Health services also showed growth, with many more people visiting their GP.
‘GDP is still around two percentage points below its pre-pandemic peak.’
Energy usage dropped as summer arrived in the UK, the ONS said.
Economists at Pantheon Macroeconomics had expected GDP to grow by 0.6 per cent in June, and 4.7 per cent across the quarter.
The Bank of England, meanwhile, had predicted growth of 5 per cent across the quarter.
However, the surge of the Covid-19 Delta variant and the boom in the number of people self-isolating undermined some of this growth.
Nevertheless, the data marks a major improvement from the first months of the year.
In the first quarter the economy contracted by 1.6 per cent as it battled with prolonged lockdowns.
That data covered the period to the end of March, so did not include the reopening of outdoor hospitality in April and indoor hospitality a month later.