Sunday 30 May 2021 8:00 am

Business and professional services boosts UK economic output in May

The City of London’s dominant business and professional services industry put rockets under the UK’s private sector business activity in the three months to May, according to the latest CBI monthly gorwth survey.

Business and professional services activity grew at a survey record pace, gorwing at a rate of 50 per cent, up from a five per cent boost in the April survey from the CBI.

Across the entire UK private sector, activity grew at its fastest pace since August 2015 – with a balance of 30 per cent in the quarter to May, up from just one per cent growth in the three months to April.

May saw the majority of the UK’s high street businesses able to open more of their sites to the public while and increasing number of professionals returned to the office.

Last week saw commuter trips to City of London Tube stations reach its highest level since the Covid-19 pandemic began.

UK businesses were even more bullish on the outlook for the next three months.

All sectors anticipate strong growth over this period, with business and professional services firms again the most confident, expecting activity rates to surge another 50 per cent on average.

Consumer services expect activity rates to increase by one third, manufacturers expect the same, and distribution firms expect activity levels to increase 37 per cent over the summer.

Alpesh Paleja, lead economist at business lobby the Confederation of Business and Industry, said:

“As the country slowly but surely reopens, the economy has really taken off. Most sectors have seen a real uplift in activity in recent months and believe that the outlook for the summer is strong.

“The same cannot be said for consumer services during this time, which is understandable given continued restrictions. All eyes will be on the Government’s decision on step 4 of the roadmap, to further help the likes of hospitality, leisure and tourism make the most of summer.  

“As and when restrictions lift further, we shouldn’t lose sight of how fragile the situation will remain for some businesses, and the Government will need to keep a watching brief of what support may need to continue.”