The UK economy has registered the highest expansion since 1946, growing 7.5 per cent in 2021 despite an Omicron-induced slump registered in December.
According to ONS figures, the economy was recovering strongly following a 9.4 per cent collapse in 2020 but was hit with a 0.2 per cent bump in December. Retail and hospitality were the most hit industries, BBC news reported.
“Despite December’s setback, GDP grew robustly across the fourth quarter as a whole with the NHS, couriers and employment agencies all helping to support the economy,” said ONS’s director of economic statistics Darren Morgan. “Overall, GDP in December was in line with its level in February 2020, before Covid-19 struck, while in the fourth quarter as a whole, it was slightly below that of Q4 in 2019.”
Commenting on the results, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said he was “proud of the resolve the whole country has demonstrated.”
“Thanks to our £400bn package of support and making the right calls at the right time, the economy has been remarkably resilient; with the UK seeing the fastest growth in the G7 last year and GDP remaining at pre-pandemic levels in December,” he added. “We’re continuing to help the economy rebuild through our Plan for Jobs, boost for business investment and support for households with the cost of living.”
According to Victoria Scholar, head of investment at interactive investor, the economy reacted better to December’s slump than analysts expected.
“The latest GDP figures reveal the extent to which Omicron, the shortages of goods and record job vacancies dampened economic activity in the final stretch of 2021,” she said. “Nonetheless despite the December slowdown, the UK economy still managed to enjoy its strongest annual growth figures since the 1940s, successfully rebounding from the pandemic doldrums of 2020.”