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UK GDP rises by 0.5 per cent in May

·2-min read
GDP rose 0.5 % in  May  (PA Wire)
GDP rose 0.5 % in May (PA Wire)

The British economy grew by a faster than expected 0.5 per cent in May, official GDP figures reveal today.

Output was boosted by a big rise in activity in the health service as patients rushed to book appointments with NHS GPs after the lifting of Covid restrictions.

It pushed output in the dominant services sector ahead by 0.4 per cent overall. However, output in “consumer facing” services fell 0.1 per cent, driven by a 0.5 per cent drop in the retail sector.

Production grew by 0.9 per cent and construction by 1.5 per cent, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Economists had been expecting output to have been flat in May. Overall monthly GDP is now estimated to be 1.7 per cent above its pre-Covid levels.

Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi said: It’s always great to see the economy growing but I’m not complacent, I know people are concerned so we are continuing to support families and economic growth.”

But Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves said: “This shows growth is still far too slow, when we urgently need to get our ecomony back on track.”

Despite the faster than expected growth the data will do little to allay fears that the economy is heading for recession later in the year.

Most City economists think the economy is likely to shrink in the second quarter but will grow slightly in the third quarter. However, many fear a recession over the autumn and winter after average energy bills soar to £3,000 in October and possibly as much as £3,300 in the New Year.

GDP grew by just 0.8 per cent in the first quarter of the year having started strongly in January as the economy bounced back from the impact of the Omicron variant of Coronavirus.

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