British economy grows faster than all G20 rivals, says OECD

·2 min read

The UK’s economy expanded faster than any other developed country in the second quarter as looser restrictions boosted output.

Britain’s GDP growth of 4.8pc was the quickest among the G20 group of the world’s richest countries, according to the OECD.

The rise almost doubled the pace of Italy's 2.7pc expansion, which took second place.

However, Britain remains a laggard when the pandemic is considered as a whole. UK output was 4.4pc lower at the end of June when comparing GDP in the second quarter with the final quarter of 2019, according to the Paris-based organisation.

Only India has performed worse on that timeline, having contracted by 8.1pc across a year and a half.

India’s economy crashed in the second quarter, with output plunging by 10.2pc as it failed to control a major early outbreak of the delta variant.

GDP for the entire G20 is 0.7pc above pre-pandemic levels, having recovered by the end of the first quarter. Its recovery has been driven by China and Turkey, up 8.2pc and 8.8pc respectively since the end of 2019.

The data captures a period of major reopening in the UK after lockdown restriction that kicked in across much of the country late last year.

Non-essential retailers reopened during early April alongside outdoor hospitality and some accommodation and leisure activity, with larger events and indoor hospitality and entertainment permitted again in May.

The Government had set out plans to lift all restrictions by the end of the period, but was forced to delay "freedom day" by a month due to rising cases.

UK growth appears to have stalled at the start of the third quarter, with the latest data from Office for National Statistics indicating output rose just 0.1pc in July. On a monthly basis, the statistics body says output was 2.1pc below February 2020 levels at the end of July.

Economists have warned the UK’s recovery may be slower from here, with the easiest gains made during the spring and early summer.

Case numbers remain elevated, with the delta-driven surge that arrived towards to end of the second quarter still prevalent. The virus has killed about 1 in 500 Britons, according to data from Johns Hopkins University and the ONS.