UK GDP fell by record 20.4 per cent in April due to Covid-19 lockdown

The UK economy contracted as gross domestic product (GDP) plunged by 20.4% in April – the first full month of the coronavirus lockdown – the Office for National Statistics has said.

In April 2020, the services sector fell by 19.0 per cent, the largest monthly fall on record. The largest driver to this fall was wholesale, retail and motor trades followed by accommodation and food services, education, professional scientific and technical activities and human health and social activities.

The only sub-sector that didn’t fall was public administration and defence, which was flat in April.


Commenting on today’s GDP figures, Jonathan Athow, Deputy National Statistician for Economic Statistics, said:  “April’s fall in GDP is the biggest the UK has ever seen, more than three times larger than last month and almost ten times larger than the steepest pre-covid-19 fall. In April the economy was around 25% smaller than in February.

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“Virtually all areas of the economy were hit, with pubs, education, health and car sales all giving the biggest contributions to this historic fall.

“Manufacturing and construction also saw significant falls, with manufacture of cars and housebuilding particularly badly affected.

“The UK’s trade with the rest of the world was also badly affected by the pandemic, with large falls in both the import and export of cars, fuels, works of art and clothing.”

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The fall in GDP due to the coronavirus lockdown is “unprecedented”, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) has said

Jonathan Athow, deputy national statistician at the ONS, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Well, 20 per cent is really unprecedented.

“Actually, if you take March and April together the fall was 25%. So in two months the economy shrank by a quarter.”

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