The Mirror: Recession fears as UK economy slides into decline during ‘bleak’ November

Date: January 13, 2020

We’re not in recession yet, but it things don’t improve in the next few months we could end up there by the summer as GDP falls into negative territory

The UK economy slid into decline in November thanks to weakness in the manufacturing sector not being made up elsewhere.

The Office for National Statistics said monthly gross domestic product (GDP) dropped 0.3% in November, after growing for the two months before a General Election was called.

This meant that over the latest three-month period – between September and November – the economy was slightly up.

However, if the falls continue in December and beyond the UK faces a real risk of recession – possibly as soon as summer.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “These figures are bleak news for the economy and working people with vital industries like manufacturing in the doldrums.

“The government has run out of excuses. It must come up with a plan to boost growth and living standards across the country.

“Warm words are not going to cut it.”

High street retailers see sales plummet at fastest rate in 24 years
Some 46% of UK firms predict the country will go into recession this year, figures from Stenn Group show, with trade tariffs, Brexit and regional instability the main key reasons businesses have to be pessimistic.

Environmental concerns and climate change, new consumer behaviour, and increased cyber threats were also cited as risks to the economy.

The ONS said GDP decline in November was heavily driven by continuing troubles in the manufacturing sector, which saw output fall 1.7% during the month, according to the new figures.

The services sector also reported a decline, although notably more modest, at 0.3% for the month.

However, construction output returned to strong growth, with output increasing by 1.9% during November after 2.2% decline was reported a month earlier.

Mark Tighe, Catax chief executive, said: “Manufacturing in the UK stumbled in the three months to November, with the motor industry taking a battering and dragging output down.

“Brexit uncertainty is at fault for much of the country’s trouble, with factories in the motoring sector shutting down in the run up to the ill-fated leaving day of October 31.

“The December election and parliament’s long-awaited approval of the withdrawal agreement gives us hope that big companies can get investment and manufacturing motoring again.”

Rob Kent-Smith, head of GDP at the ONS, said: “Overall, the economy grew slightly in the latest three months, with growth in construction pulled back by weakening services and another lacklustre performance from manufacturing.

“The UK economy grew slightly more strongly in September and October than was previously estimated, with later data painting a healthier picture.

“Long term, the economy continues to slow, with growth in the economy compared to the same time last year at its lowest since the spring of 2012.”

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