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Economy may be running out of steam, says BCC

The UK economy continued its recovery in August, growing by 2.1%, as the Eat Out to Help Out scheme boosted restaurants, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics

But the figure was below expectations and the economy is still 9.2% smaller than before the pandemic struck.

It marked the fourth consecutive month of expansion following the slump induced by the Coronavirus lockdown.

However, growth in August was slower than the expansion seen in both June and July.

In June, the economy grew by 8.7% and in July, by 6.6%.

Commenting on the figures, British Chambers of Commerce Head of Economics Suren Thiru, said: “While the latest data confirms a rebound in economic activity continued into August, the sharp slowdown in growth indicates that the recovery may be running out of steam, with output still well below pre-crisis levels. 

“The increase in activity in August largely reflects a temporary boost from the from the economy reopening and government stimulus, including the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme, rather than proof of a sustained ‘V’-shaped recovery.  

“Although the UK remains on course to exit recession in the third quarter, the looming triple threat of surging unemployment, further restrictions and a disorderly end to the transition period means the recent rally in economic output is likely to be short-lived. 

“As a result, the Government must stand ready to help firms navigate a difficult winter, beyond the Chancellor’s recent interventions. This means fixing the ailing Test and Trace system to prevent future damaging lockdowns and providing comprehensive support packages for firm’s subject to local restrictions.”

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