Recession ‘no surprise’ to struggling Norfolk businesses

The UK has entered its first recession since 2008. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The UK has entered its first recession since 2008. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019

Norfolk’s economy is out of the frying pan and into the fire as lockdown eases but the country enters a recession.

The economy has collapsed into its largest recession on record at 20.4pc - the first since the 2008 financial crisis.

But monthly data showed a recovery from the depths of the recession in April, with the economy bouncing back by a better-than-expected 8.7pc in June as lockdown restrictions eased.

This followed upwardly revised growth of 2.4pc in May.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the economy is still a long way off from recovering the record falls seen in March and April.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said that the ONS figures “confirm that hard times are here”.

He said: “Hundreds of thousands of people have already lost their jobs, and sadly in the coming months many more will.”

MORE: Q&A: What is a recession and what does it mean for you?But he said there were some “promising signs” for the economy after the June growth figures.

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Nova Fairbank, head of policy at Norfolk Chambers of Commerce said that the GDP figures would be “no surprise” to Norfolk businesses.

She said: “The coronavirus has impacted heavily on many of our sectors, particularly the consumer-based firms in hospitality, tourism, culture and retail.

“With restrictions easing, this quarter is likely to be seen as the low point for the Norfolk economy. However the prospect of a swift return to ‘business as usual’ – a so called ‘V-shaped’ recovery is likely to remain remote, as the economic damage from coronavirus continues to evolve.

“As the government support initiatives, such as the furlough scheme unwind, more businesses will be faced with difficult decisions about their survival. Against this backdrop, bold action is needed urgently to inject confidence back into the local economy. This should include supporting businesses to retain staff through a cut in employer national insurance contributions and targeted support to help businesses recover and grow.”

The grim figures come after ONS data on Tuesday showed around 730,000 jobs have been lost since the lockdown began in March, while employment also dropped by the largest quarterly amount for 11 years between May and June.