UK economy declines by more than expected in July amid strike impact

LONDON: The UK economy shrank surprisingly sharply in July as the health sector was impacted by further industrial action and retailers were knocked by wet weather, reported PA Media/dpa.

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 0.5 per cent in July.

Economists had forecast a 0.2 per cent decline for the month.

It came after a 0.5 per cent monthly increase in June.

ONS director of economic statistics Darren Morgan said: “Our initial estimate for July shows that GDP fell; however, the broader picture looks more positive, with the economy growing across the services, production, and construction sectors in the last three months.

“In July, industrial action by healthcare workers and teachers negatively impacted services, and it was a weaker month for construction and retail due to the poor weather.

“Manufacturing also fell back following its rebound from the effect of May’s extra bank holiday.”

UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said: “Only by halving inflation can we deliver the sustainable growth and pay rises that the country needs.

“But there are many reasons to be confident about the future.

“We were among the fastest in the G7 to recover from the pandemic and the IMF (International Monetary Fund) has said we will grow faster than Germany, France, and Italy in the long term.” -Bernama