The UK’s Office for National Statistics said on Wednesday morning that the country has slipped into its deepest recession ever recorded. The announcement points to the COVID-19 pandemic and the regulations that followed that closed many businesses for months as the recession’s catalyst.
The British economy decreased by one fifth in the second quarter, according to the Office of National Statistics. The British economy shrank more than any of their European counterparts. Additionally, the UK economy suffered a GDP decline double the percent of the US economy, despite the latter never going into a national lockdown.
The Office for National Statistics released a statement saying that, “it is clear that the UK is in the largest recession on record [in the UK].” An economy is considered in recession when there have been two consecutive quarterly declines. Within the UK the economy recoiled by 20.4 percent from April to June.
The announcement comes after the British economy faced a prior decline of 2.2 percent in the first three months of the year, before the virus had even hit.
Statisticians pointed towards a 20 percent drop in output of goods and services in April as the reason for the recession. However, the UK also failed to lock down as early as nearby countries. London imposed a national lockdown two weeks later than Italy, 10 days after Spain, and a week after France.
This delay is not only represented in the economic downfall. The UK has the highest death toll in Europe and experts warn that the effects of the late and long lockdown will be felt well into the future.
UK Finance Minister Rishi Sunak said in a statement that, “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.”
Despite the threatening effects of a recession, the minister outlined a message of hope. Sunak reaffirmed his country’s citizens that “we will get through this and I can assure people that nobody will be left without hope or opportunity.”