We're nearly there! UK economy GROWS as country bounces back - Sunak celebrates

Gross domestic product (GDP) was up 2.3 percent in April - the biggest jump since July 2020 when it grew by 7.3 percent - according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). A significant chunk of the growth was driven by non-essential retailers as they once again opened their doors to customers in England from April 12.  Clothes stores experienced a massive 69.4 percent boost.

Overall growth in the service sector came in at 3.4 percent, although this is still 4.1 percent below the pre-pandemic levels of February 2020.

This included restaurants, bars and cafes where the public could dine outdoors again, which saw a 39 percent surge in growth.

The easing of lockdown restrictions has also seen more households taking advantage of the ability to travel throughout the country again.

In April, this helped growth for caravan parks and holiday lets jump significantly by 68.6 percent.

Hairdressers, which also opened their doors again on April 12, along with other personal services, grew 63.6 percent.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: "Today's figures are a promising sign that our economy is beginning to recover.

"With more than a million people coming off furlough across March and April and the number of employees in work rising, it is clear that our Plan for Jobs is working.

"But I know there are people who still need our support, which is why the furlough scheme is in place until September to protect as many jobs as possible".

The growth in the UK economy could have been far greater but for a slowdown in the construction sector compared to strong growth the month before. 

This fell slightly by two percent in April, driven by a fall in new work of 2.9 percent, with repair and maintenance down 0.6 percent.

But despite this, the sector still remains above pre-pandemic levels by 0.3 percent.

The UK also imported more goods from outside the EU in April than at any point since 1997, but exports from the country fell, the ONS figures showed.

Total imports jumped by 3.9 percent as the UK began buying more oil and non-ferrous metals from outside the continental trading bloc and more manufactured goods from the bloc following Brexit.

Overall exports, excluding precious metals, fell slightly by 0.6 percent following two months of growth.

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