The UK’s Covid-19 economic decline transcends anything seen before. It is  far worse than the global financial crisis in 2007/2008; the early 1970s oil crisis and the later political crises that culminated in the “winter of discontent”; the Great Depression of the 1930s; and the post-World War 1 slump in which GDP contracted 25% from 1919 to 1921.

UK chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak forecasts that output will return to prepandemic levels only in the fourth quarter of 2022, which is a long two years away. Unemployment is expected to reach 7.5% by first quarter 2021 and government debt is forecast to hit £394bn this year, equivalent to 19% of GDP, and the highest yet in peacetime. UK debt to GDP is now about 92%, rising to 98% by 2025/2026. ..

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now