As England was placed in COVID-19 lockdown for a second time, the United Kingdom economy shrank by 2.6 per cent in November last year, official figures show.
The Office for National Statistics said it meant gross domestic product was 8.5 per cent below its pre-pandemic peak.
November’s decline came after six consecutive months of growth.
Pubs and hairdressers were badly hit as the service sector suffered, the ONS said, but some manufacturing and construction activity improved.
The hit to the service sector – which accounts for about three-quarters of the UK economy – meant it contracted by 3.4 per cent in November, and is now 9.9% below the level of February 2020.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the figures showed “It’s clear things will get harder before they get better and today’s figures highlight the scale of the challenge we face”.
However, he said the vaccine roll-out and economic support measures meant there were reasons to be hopeful. “With this support, and the resilience and enterprise of the British people, we will get through this,” he said. (BBC NEWS)