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Coronavirus: UK economy takes biggest quarterly hit since 1979, new figures show

The quarterly figures capture the first direct effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. (PA)

1 min read

The UK economy suffered its biggest quarterly hit since 1979 as the coronavirus crisis began to take hold at the start of this year, new figures show.

Revised gross domestic product (GDP) data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that the economy shrank by a bigger-than-expected 2.2% between January and March of this year.

That marked a 1.7% fall when compared with the same period in January 2019 — and the “joint largest fall” in quarterly UK GDP since the summer of 1979.

The quarterly figures capture the first direct effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the measures taken by the Government in the early stages of the outbreak to cut transmission.

The ONS data show the services sector took a “record” 2.3% hit over the quarter, while household consumption dropped by 2.9% — a 1.2% downward revision on the previous estimate.

The new data came as Boris Johnson promised to “build, build, build” his way out of the coronavirus slump with a new £5bn spending package that Number 10 is dubbing a ‘New Deal’.

The Prime Minister will say during a speech in Dudley: "We will not just bounce back, we will bounce forward – stronger and better and more united than ever before.”

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