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East Midlands Chamber News

Chamber responds to sharp fall in economic output due to coronavirus

The UK economy contracted by 2 per cent in the first quarter of 2020 after shrinking by 5.8% in March, according to figures released today by the Office of National Statistics.

The latest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) output estimate showed the first direct effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the resulting lockdown, on the UK’s economy.

The first quarter fall was the biggest since the financial crisis of 2008, while the monthly decrease in March was the worst since records began.

Scott Knowles, Chief Executive of East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire), said:

“The Q1 GDP figures make for grim reading and provide a stark reminder of the dire economic consequences that the coronavirus lockdown has brought about.

“While the Government’s numerous interventions to support business through this period were both welcome and necessary, focus needs to shift quickly towards rebooting the economy in the safest way possible so businesses can start building the economic recovery in a swift and sustainable way.

“Further, measured Government support is needed to help avoid a prolonged downturn, to stimulate those sectors of the economy that have been impacted the greatest as a result of Covid-19 and for businesses to adapt for the future – whether that’s adapting their place of work to ensure its safe for employees or by investing in new and emerging technology to maximise productivity and recover lost ground.

“The extension of the furlough scheme yesterday was a crucial first step, but more needs to be done to ensure that the right support is in place to deliver a safe and successful restart of the economy.”