Commenting on GDP statistics for Q1 2020, published today (13 May) by the ONS, BCC Head of Economics Suren Thiru said: “The contraction in UK GDP in the first quarter underscores the negative impact that coronavirus had on the economy, even at its earliest stages. The quarterly decline was driven by a sharp drop in monthly GDP in March with activity in all sectors contracting as the UK went into lockdown.
“The speed and scale at which Coronavirus has hit the UK economy is unprecedented and means that the Q1 decline is likely to be followed by a further, more historically significant, contraction in economic activity in Q2.
“While a swift ‘V-shaped’ economic revival as restrictions are lifted may prove too optimistic, government support can play a vital role in avoiding a prolonged downturn. The extension of the furlough scheme was a crucial first step, but more needs to be done to ensure that the right support is in place to deliver a successful restart of the economy.”