Data show UK economy flatlining, severely impacted by mass strikes
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) announces that the growth rate remained constant in February, falling short of the 0.1% increase predicted in a Reuters poll.
Official numbers show that the UK economy failed to grow in February, owing to the effects of public sector strikes and a drop in industrial production.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) stated Thursday that the growth rate remained constant in February, falling short of the 0.1% increase predicted in a Reuters poll.
Strikes by government officials and teachers slowed economic growth in February, according to Darren Morgan, head of economic statistics at the Office for National Statistics.
The comments come only hours after Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said the UK will do "significantly better" than the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) prediction on Tuesday, which predicted that the GDP would contract by 0.3% this year.
The IMF this week forecast that the UK economy would shrink, recording the worst performance of any G7 economy and placing Britain at the bottom of the world's major countries in terms of predicted economic growth.
Notwithstanding the bad result in February, Hunt stated that the UK's economic outlook is "brighter than expected" and that the GDP (the measure of economic growth) increased by 0.1% in the three months to February.
"We are set to avoid recession thanks to the steps we have taken through a massive package of cost of living support for families and radical reforms to boost the jobs market and business investment," said Hunt, who was introduced to relaunch the British economy after a market rout under his predecessor.
In a statement, the opposition Labour Party's Shadow Chancellor, Rachel Reeves, claimed that the results showed the economy was slowing. "Despite our enormous promise and potential as a country, Britain is still lagging behind on the global stage, with growth on the floor," he said.
According to the GDP data, education was the greatest contributor to the negative growth in services in February 2023, falling 1.7% in the month.
Teachers' walkouts throughout the country on February 1 were the largest drag on growth, according to the ONS. Strikes by a large number of government officials also had an impact on productivity.
Throughout the year, tens of thousands of teachers in the United Kingdom have staged strikes in order to seek salary increases that keep pace with inflation. The largest teachers' strike in history is scheduled between April 27 and May 2.
The UK economy has been battling with record-high inflation in recent months, with many employees going on strike and protesting because their salaries are not keeping up with increasing inflation.
With inflation exceeding 10% and a rise in food and heating costs, salaries have plummeted in real terms, leaving individuals unable to pay their expenses.
The government has revealed a new proposal to discontinue the Energy Price Guarantee scheme, which will remove the government's financial support for energy bills, adding to the present strain on consumers.
Forecasts from the bank predict that the UK will be enduring 40-year-high inflation, reaching 11% during the incumbent quarter. However, Britain has already entered a recession that may last up to 2 years - even longer than what it endured during the 2008-09 financial crisis.