UK economy grows again but still below pre-pandemic level





LONDON (AP) — Official figures show the British economy grew by 4.8% in the second quarter of 2021 as lockdown restrictions were lifted but remains 4.4% below the level it was just before the start of coronavirus pandemic.

The Office for National Statistics also said Thursday that the British economy grew by 1% in June alone, the fifth straight month of growth. June was the first full month that many sectors of the economy were fully open following the lifting of restrictions.

“The U.K. economy has continued to rebound strongly, with hospitality benefiting from the first full month of indoor dining, while spending on advertising was boosted by the reopening of many services,” Jonathan Athow, deputy national statistician for economic statistics, said.

The lifting of pandemic restrictions following the rapid rollout of vaccines in the U.K. has buoyed growth in recent months. All legal limits on contact, such as social distancing rules and caps on the number of people allowed to gather together, were lifted in July.

Economists expect further growth in the months to come even though confirmed virus cases have risen as a result of greater social contact. The Bank of England said last week that “a waning impact” from COVID-19 would boost demand growth and help the British economy reach its pre-pandemic level by the end of the year.