The dramatic economic effect of the lockdown has been laid bare, with figures showing that the UK economy shrank by more than a fifth in April. It’s the largest monthly contraction ever recorded – in the first full month of lockdown.
The slump of 20.4% in economic growth is three times larger than that seen during the whole of the financial crisis 12 years ago. The Office for National Statistics says it has affected almost all areas of economic activity – with housebuilding and car manufacturing particularly badly hit.
The UK is now on course for a recession, which is two consecutive quarters of negative growth. But analysts say that April was likely to have been the worst month.
The economic uncertainty has led to calls for trade talks with the EU following Brexit to be extended beyond the end of this year. But the government has ruled that out, with cabinet minister Michael Gove saying he had “formally confirmed” to the EU that there will be no delay.
However checks on goods coming to the UK from the EU will be phased in next year, to give businesses time to adjust.
Reeta Chakrabarti presents BBC News at Ten reporting by Economics Editor Faisal Islam and Political Correspondent Alex Forsyth.