BRITAIN'S economy is set for a “rapid recovery” from the pandemic helped by strong consumer spending, a top economist said today.
The Bank of England's chief economist Andy Haldane said the public's willingness to shop and eat out has already helped the UK claw back up to half of the losses sparked by the coronavirus lockdown.
He says the country should “see the economic glass as half full rather than half empty” as official figures show a surge in the number of workers returning to the office.
And with the economy set to break records by growing more than a fifth in the second half of 2020, Mr Haldane says the recovery is already happening.
Writing in the Daily Mail, he said: “The foundations for an economic recovery – a rapid one – are already in place, hiding in plain sight.
“Economic activity in the UK is not falling like stone, in fact it has now been rising for more than three months, sooner than anyone expected.
“It has also recovered far faster than anyone expected.”
Following the release of the latest economic figures, Chancellor Rishi Sunak says the UK is “bouncing back” after the unprecedented shutdown.
He said: “Our economy has been hit hard by the virus, but the statistics out today show promise of Britain bouncing back.
“The recovery won’t be easy but if we all play our part, either by going back to work in our offices or enjoying a meal out, we can overcome this together and come out stronger than before.”
On Wednesday, it was confirmed that Britain was suffering a recession with GDP plummeting 20.4 per cent in the second quarter of 2020 – a record fall.
Yet, the data shows that after collapsing in April, following the lockdown at the end of March, the economy grew by 2.4 per cent in May and 8.7 per cent in June.
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), nearly 50 per cent of Brits travelled to work last week following Boris Johnson's pleas for the country to return to the office.
An ONS poll of workers from August 5 to 9, showed that 48 per cent are now working exclusively in the office – a huge jump from just 29 per cent at the end of May.
Only 23 per cent of those questioned say they are still home working exclusively – down from 38 per cent in June.
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Earlier this week, Housing Minister Robert Jenrick warned job losses would follow because the wider economy will be hit if millions did not return to the office.
He said: “Those of us who can should be safely going out to shops, using cafés and restaurants and getting back to work.
“If we don’t, I’m afraid we will see further job losses and a loss of some of those fantastic businesses that we see in our cities.”