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UK economy grows 7.5 percent in 2021 as it rebounds from 2020 slump

By Huw Hughes

11 Feb 2022

Business

Image: Pexels, Dominika Gregušová

The UK economy grew last year at its fastest pace since the Second World War as the country recovered from the crippling impact of the pandemic in 2020.

According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the UK’s GDP saw an annual rise of 7.5 percent last year, the fastest rate since 1941.

That growth was in contrast to a huge 9.4 percent drop in 2020 when large parts of the economy were brought to a standstill by multiple lockdowns during the pandemic.

Omicron impacts December GDP

While there was overall growth in 2021, there was a 0.2 percent drop in GDP in December as the omicron wave impacted certain industries such as retail and hospitality.

But despite that drop, the ONS said monthly GDP was in line with its pre-pandemic levels.

The UK’s economy was the fastest growing of any G7 country during the year. But ONS director of economic statistics Darren Morgan highlighted the broader context that needs to be considered.

“The growth in 2021 comes from a low base in 2020, when the economy fell sharply,” he told the BBC, adding that “if you look at where the UK economy is now, compared to its pre-pandemic level...the UK is middle of the pack, compared with the G7.”

In this context, the UK was above Italy, Germany and Japan, but below the US, Canadian and French.

ONS