GDP fell by a record 20.4% in April as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
March also saw deep declines in economic activity when the lockdown began, leading to an overall shrinkage in the UK economy of 25% since February.
Deputy National Statistician for the ONS, Jonathan Athow, warned that the scale of economic decline was unprecedented.
“April’s fall in GDP is the biggest the UK has ever seen, more than three times larger than last month and almost 10 times larger than the steepest pre-Covid-19 fall,” he said.
For comparison, the financial crisis of 2008-2009, the effects of which were still being seen a decade on, led to an overall 6% contraction in the economy over one-and-a-half years.
Responding to this news, the TUC’s General Secretary, Frances O’Grady, called on the government to take urgent action.
“If we act now, we can stop deep damage becoming lasting damage. The government must work closely with unions and business to get the next steps right,” she said.
“The government should set up a national recovery council with unions and business to plan how we can build back better. We need targeted support for hard hit sectors of the economy, and a jobs guarantee to help those who do lose work.”