Omicron concern follows surprise GDP growth

14 January 2022

After recording stronger growth than expected, the UK economy surpassed pre-Covid levels for the first time in November.

The Office for National Statistics said gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 0.9 per cent between October and November.

That was higher than economists' expectations and meant the economy was 0.7 per cent larger than in February 2020.

But there is concern growth slowed again after the spread of Omicron and the introduction of Plan B measures.

Raj Kandola (pictured), head of policy at Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce (GBCC), said: “While it is encouraging to see growth above pre-pandemic levels, this data was recorded before the spread of Omicron.

“That means we will not see the impact of that until the December figures are released. And another concern is that inflationary pressure is building, as reflected in the GBCC’s latest Quarterly Business Report (QBR).

“As we said in our letter to the Chancellor, business still needs support to help them recover from the devastating impact of Covid-19.”

Analysts said the overall rise in GDP was mostly due to 3.5 per cent growth in the construction sector, adding "the unusually dry weather probably helped too".

They also said manufacturing output improved and the professional sector  picked up, apparently due to architectural and engineering activities being brought forward from December.

The GBCC’s launch of its final QBR of 2021 take place online on Wednesday. Register your place now.

Read the Chamber's letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

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