Food The UK economy grew 2.3% in April as pubs and restaurants reopened and the vaccine drive continued at pace

11:05  11 june  2021
11:05  11 june  2021 Source:   businessinsider.com

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UK economic growth was 2 . 3 % in April as coronavirus restrictions eased. UK and US relationship indestructible, PM says. Boris Johnson coins a new term for the so-called "special relationship" as the G7 summit begins in Cornwall.

The U . K . economy gathered momentum in April as shops, hairdressers and restaurants serving outdoors re - opened for business after months of lockdown to fight the coronavirus. The figures are likely to fuel speculation about when the Bank of England might tighten interest rates. A rapid vaccination program means the economy , which shrank the most since 1709 last year, is now set for its strongest growth in decades. Surveys indicate businesses are preparing to step up investment and households are splurging savings built up during more than a year of restrictions.

a group of people sitting at a table: The English government allowed pubs and restaurants to reopen in May. SOPA Images/Getty © SOPA Images/Getty The English government allowed pubs and restaurants to reopen in May. SOPA Images/Getty
  • The UK economy grew 2.3% in April as the government eased restrictions on the service sector.
  • Britain's economy remained 3.7% below its February 2020 level, before COVID-19 struck.
  • Economists think the economy should grow further in May, when more rules were eased.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

The UK economy grew 2.3% in April, figures showed on Friday, as restrictions were relaxed and pubs and restaurants in England were allowed to serve people outside.

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Pubs will also re - open outdoors and punters will not be required to purchase a substantial meal in order to drink alcohol, as was the case under previous government Covid rules. From May 17, Step 3 would allow up to 10,000 fans to enter stadiums for professional sports events, while pubs and restaurants will also be allowed to re - open for indoor service. The conditions for each stage of restrictions to be lifted include that vaccine deployment continues to be effective, that hospital admissions do not increase, and that new variants of the virus do not pose any threat.

Thomas Pugh, UK economist at Capital Economics , said the reopening of restaurants and pubs meant the accommodation and food services sector "rose by a whopping 140.8%" between June and July. Up, up, but not away. The UK economy continued a sharp recovery from lockdown in July, growing by a bumper 6.6% in the month. But the rate of recovery was a little slower than in June, raising some concerns about the ongoing strength of the bounce back. The economy is still nearly 12% smaller than before the pandemic crisis, and has recovered just over half of the lost output during the

April's 2.3% growth in gross domestic product was the strongest since July 2020, when the economy rebounded from the first coronavirus lockdowns, although it was marginally below economists' estimates of a 2.5% expansion.

The service sector grew a strong 3.4% in April, aided by the easing of lockdowns in the middle of the month, the Office for National Statistics said.

The pound slipped slightly after the figures were released, but was roughly flat against the dollar at $1.418.

"Strong growth in retail spending, increased car and caravan purchases, schools being open for the full month and the beginning of the reopening of hospitality all boosted the economy in April," Jonathan Athow, deputy national statistician at the ONS, said.

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Pubs and restaurants have reopened for the first time in months as England eases another round of public health regulations. Despite wintery temperatures, people still enjoyed a glass of champagne or a pint of beer outdoors. Drinks are poured inside, but pub -goers must use outdoor seating. What else is reopened in the UK ? In England and Wales, nonessential shops and beauty salons can now resume business with health and hygiene measures in place. Gyms, zoos and hairdressers in England can also reopen .

But officials are also working on proposals which could see most shops reopen in April , and pubs and restaurants welcome customers again in May, the Telegraph reports. Boris has maintained lockdown would be lifted in stages - as it was last year - based on the success of the vaccine rollout, a The Government's roadmap for taking the UK out of lockdown is heavily dependent on the pace of of the vaccination programme and the aim is for 30 million people to get the jab by March. Number 10 has been given a huge boost in its bid to get Britain back on its feet after the chief exec of AstraZeneca

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the UK GDP figures were "a promising sign that our economy is beginning to recover."

Despite the strong growth, UK GDP remained 3.7% smaller than in February 2020, before COVID-19 struck, according to the ONS.

Another factor boosting the UK economy has been the rapid national rollout of coronavirus vaccines. Almost 60% of Britons have had their first dose, according to Our World In Data.

The vaccine drive has so far allowed the government to stick to its timetable for reopening the economy. However, the rise in the delta variant, first discovered in India, could postpone the lifting of all restrictions, which was due on June 21.

The government lifted more restrictions in England in May, allowing people to go inside pubs and restaurants, and reopening cinemas.

"Most indicators suggest that the recovery progressed at a solid pace in May, especially after more restrictions on services businesses were lifted on May 17," Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said.

"For instance, the composite [purchasing managers' index] increased in May to its highest level since records began in 1998, while data from the British Retail Consortium suggest that retail sales volumes rose a little further, despite already exceeding their 2019 average by 10% in April."

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UK nightclubs are set to open for the first time in over a year, some without any COVID-19 safety measures. Venues can't wait - but some fear a virus surge among young people. .
Some venue owners told Insider they intended to open without COVID-19 safety measures such as social distancing - and experts fear a rise in cases.The government is planning to lift all legal limits on social contact on June 21 - but scientists warn that the return of nightlife "as normal" could lead to surging COVID-19 cases. Some nightlife operators told Insider they intended to reopen without COVID-19 safety measures.

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