Hospitality 'worst hit' as UK plunges into recession

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Hospitality 'worst hit' as UK plunges into recession Coronavirus lockdown GDP fall 20.4%

Related tags: Recession, Restaurant, Hospitality

The UK has entered its deepest recession since records began, with figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showing hospitality to have been the hardest hit sector.

During the second quarter of 2020 in the three months to June, when the country was under lockdown as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, gross domestic product (GDP), the broadest measure of economic prosperity, fell by 20.4%.

It's the biggest quarterly decline since comparable records began in 1955, and follows a fall of 2.2% in the first quarter, during the three months to March. 

The figures show food and beverage service activities to have been the hardest hit during the second quarter, registering a decline of 84.7% as a result of the closure of bars and restaurants.

Monthly GDP did bounce back in June, growing by 8.7% as Government restrictions on movement started to ease.

Commenting on the figures, ONS Deputy National Statistical for Economic Statistics Jonathan Athow said:

“The recession brought on by the coronavirus pandemic has led to the biggest fall in quarterly GDP on record.

“The economy began to bounce back in June with shops reopening, factories beginning to ramp up production and housebuilding continuing to recover. Despite this, GDP in June still remains a sixth below its level in February, before the virus struck.

“Overall, productivity saw its largest fall in the second quarter since the three-day week. Hospitality was worst hit, with productivity in that industry falling by three quarters in recent months.”

Responding to the news, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “I’ve said before that hard times were ahead and today’s figures confirm that hard times are here.

"Hundreds of thousands of people have already lost their jobs and, sadly, in the coming months many more will.

"But while there are difficult choices to be made ahead, we will get through this and I can assure people that nobody will be left without hope or opportunity.”

It was reported earlier this week that 22,000 jobs across the embattled restaurant sector have been lost so far in 2020​.

The losses are nearly double the amount shed during the whole of 2019, with experts fearing that the worst is yet to come.

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