Growth revised

Data shows UK economy bigger than before Covid

chart and business finance
Business growth was stronger than first thought

Britain’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic has been stronger than previously thought, with faster growth than Germany or France, according to revisions to official data released on Friday.

The Office for National Statistics said that in the second quarter of 2023 the economy was 1.8% larger than in the final quarter of 2019, the last full quarter before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The figures also show some differences in which sectors of the economy are performing well, with science firms growing faster than first thought.

The revisions are due to better data around taxes and costs, which the ONS said “can take a while to collect”.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said: “We know that the British economy recovered faster from the pandemic than anyone previously thought and data out today once again proves the doubters wrong.

“We were among the fastest countries in the G7 to recover from the pandemic and since 2020 we have grown faster than France and Germany. 

“The best way to continue this growth is to stick to our plan to halve inflation this year, with the IMF forecasting that we will grow more than Germany, France, and Italy in the longer term.”

However, Ruth Gregory, deputy chief UK economist at Capital Economics, was not optimistic about what the change meant: “Overall, today’s release changes very little. The data leaves the economy still only 0.6% above its level a year ago.

“It does not change the big picture that the economy has lagged behind all other G7 countries aside from Germany and France since the pandemic. And that’s before the full drag from higher interest rates has been felt.”

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