Britain’s economy shrank by the most in 300 years in 2020 amid the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic but has avoided a double-dip recession, according to official figures.
The Office for National Statistics said gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 9.9% in 2020 as no sector of the economy was left unscathed by lockdown and plummeting demand during the pandemic. It was the biggest fall in annual GDP since the Great Frost of 1709.
However, the latest figures showed the economy has narrowly avoided a double-dip recession, with growth of 1% in the final quarter of the year.
Looser Covid restrictions in the run-up to Christmas enabled GDP to grow by 1.2 in the month of December, following a 2.6% fall in November.
Good morning from London. This is Ben Quinn picking up the global liveblog and continuing to bring you coverage of global developments as well as news here in the UK.
With days before Britain’s hotel quarantine policy for incoming travellers come into force the scheme is coming under fires as travellers were left unable to book rooms.
In other moving developments, political representatives, healthcare unions and the general public have been taking time to consider and react to plans, set out on Thursday, for a wholesale reorganisation of the National Health Service (NHS) in England, which will centralise power in ministerial hands.
It’s also a day of grim economic news, as people in Britain wake up to the news that the UK has suffered its worst annual slump on record, with the economy contracting almost 10% last year amid the pandemic.
The Office for National Statistics reports that over the year 2020 as a whole, GDP contracted by 9.9%, “marking the largest annual fall in UK GDP on record.” My colleague Graeme Wearden is covering that in detail on his business live blog.
Scheduled events over the day ahead include (local times):
• 9.30am: weekly survey of social impacts of Covid-19 published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS_
• Noon: weekly Covid-19 UK infection survey from the ONS
• 1215pm: Welsh government press conference and Scottish government Covid briefing.
More than 40% of staff at the UK’s biggest care home provider have still not received vaccinations, 10 days after the government’s deadline to have provided first jabs to all care home workers and residents.
HC-One, which provides 20,000 beds across 329 homes in the UK, told the Guardian its latest figures showed 64% of its staff had been offered the vaccine and 7% declined it.
It said the reasons staff had not been offered vaccines varied across the country and that “the continuing rollout is up to the organisers”.