UK economy shrinks by 2% as Covid-19 slump begins – business live

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UK GDP has suffered its biggest quarterly fall since 2008, as the coronavirus lockdown hits the economy

Britain’s services sector (which makes up around three-quarters of the economy) has suffered its biggest quarterly contraction on record.

The Office for National Statistics says:

In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, public health restrictions and social distancing measures have been put in place in the UK, leading to a widespread disruption to economic activity. These measures have impacted upon the spending behaviours of consumers as well as how businesses and their employees operate. It has also affected the provision of services provided by government, including health and education.

Services output decreased by 1.9% in Quarter 1 (January to March) 2020, the largest quarterly fall since records began. Production output fell by 2.1% in Quarter 1 2020, driven by declines in manufacturing. Construction output decreased by 2.6% in the first quarter.

This chart shows just how sharply the UK economy shrank in the first quarter:

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