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UK economy contracts 1.5% in Q1, but rebounds in March

Christian Fernsby |
The Office for National Statistics said the economy grew by 2.1% month on month in March despite lockdown restrictions.

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Coronavirus restrictions saw the UK economy contract at the start of 2021 but the hit was smaller than first feared as growth rebounded in March, according to official figures.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that gross domestic product (GDP) – a measure of the size of the economy – fell by 1.5% between January and March as lockdown took its toll.

A resilient performance in March helped soften the blow, with GDP rising by a better-than-expected 2.1% month on month – the fastest growth since August 2020 – despite restrictions remaining firmly in place.

The ONS said the reopening of schools in March and solid retail spending helped drive the recovery.