The UK’s economy rebounded more slowly than expected in May, growing just 1.8% from the previous month, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
As a result of big contractions in previous months, the UK economy is now 24.5% smaller than it was in February.
The increase comes after a fall of 6.9% in March and a record 20.4% decline in April as a result of lockdown.
In the three months to May, the economy shrank by 19.1% compared with the previous three-month period, the ONS said.
Suren Thiru, the British Chambers of Commerce Head of Economics, said: “The latest data confirms there was a modest rally in monthly UK GDP growth in May as restrictions started to ease. However, coming after unprecedented contractions in the previous two months, it does little to alter the UK’s historically downbeat growth trajectory.
“The pick-up in output in May is more likely to reflect the partial release of pent-up demand as restrictions began to loosen, rather than evidence of a genuine recovery. While UK economic output may grow further in the short term as restrictions ease, this may dissipate as the economic scarring caused by the pandemic starts to bite, particularly as Government support winds down.
“Although some of the individual measures announced in the Summer Statement were welcome, more significant fiscal stimulus is likely to be needed to help kickstart a sustained recovery. This should include new incentives for business investment and reducing the overall cost of employment through a cut in employer National Insurance contributions.”