Tighter Coronavirus restrictions put the brakes on the UK’s economic recovery in October, with growth of just 0.4%, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Output is expected to shrink again in November after England’s second shutdown forced businesses to close.
October was the sixth consecutive month of growth for the UK after the economy contracted by a record 19.5% in April amid the first lockdown.
The economy initially rebounded at a record rate, but growth has slowed – with October’s growth figure down from the 1.1% seen in September.
Suren Thiru, the British Chambers of Commerce Head of Economics, said: “The sharp slowdown in economic output in October reflected the squeeze on activity from the re-introduction of tighter coronavirus restrictions, including the tier system in England. Firms in hospitality, who are most acutely exposed to the renewed restrictions, suffering particularly badly in the month.
“October’s slowdown is likely to be followed by a significant contraction in economic activity in November as the effects of the second coronavirus lockdown are felt, despite the prospect of a temporary boost from Brexit stockpiling.
“While a vaccine offers real hope, failure to avoid a disorderly end to the transition period or further lockdown restrictions before a mass vaccine rollout is achieved would severely drag on any economic recovery.
“Mass testing remains crucial to keeping the economy moving until the COVID-19 vaccine is fully rolled out. Achieving a UK-EU trade deal is critically important to avoid a damaging cliff edge for the UK economy. With time running out, government must work urgently to close the major gaps in the guidance available to help businesses to prepare for the end of the transition period.”