The official data released Wednesday by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that gross domestic product (GDP) fell 20.4 percent in the second quarter — April, May and June — compared with the first quarter. The downturn reflected losses across all sectors, after the country went into a tight lockdown in the third week of March.
U.K.’s economy shrank by a record 20.4 percent in the second quarter, the largest contraction reported by any major economy so far. (Reuters)
“The recession brought on by the coronavirus pandemic has led to the biggest fall in quarterly GDP on record,” said Jonathan Athow, ONS deputy national statistician. recession is called when two consecutive quarters show contraction in GDP. Britain’s first quarter in January, February and March was down 2.2 percent. This is Britain’s first recession in 11 years, since the global downturn in 2009.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, who serves as Britain’s finance minister, said the government was “grappling with something that is unprecedented.” He told reporters: “A few months ago, I said that hard times were coming. Today’s figures show that hard times are here.” Sunak warned of further job losses, even without a second wave of coronavirus infections. A government program that was paying up to 80 percent of a furloughed worker’s salary is set to expire in October. Sunak said continued high-level government job support was not sustainable.