LONDON – Britain’s economy will be back to its pre-COVID-19 level around the middle of next year, according to economists in a Reuters poll who said unemployment would peak at 6.2% as 2021 draws to a close and the pandemic job support scheme ends.
The UK has suffered the highest coronavirus-related death toll in Europe. But a swift vaccine rollout and plummeting infections has allowed the government to begin easing restrictions and on Monday non-essential retail and outside hospitality reopened.
Last year the economy shrank by the most in more than three centuries, but the April 7-12 poll of around 70 economists said it would expand 5.0% this year and 5.5% in 2022. In a March poll those forecACCENTURasts were 4.6% and 5.7%, respectively.
UK FIRMS SEE SHARPER 2021 REBOUND THAN INTERNATIONAL PEERS – E
With much of the country’s dominant service industry closed, and citizens encouraged to stay at home, the poll suggested the economy contracted 2.3% last quarter. Now that lockdowns are being loosened, it was expected to grow 3.5% this quarter and 3.0% next.
"There are mounting signs that the effects on the economy from the third COVID-19 lockdown have started to thaw," said Paul Dales at Capital Economics.