UK's economic recovery slowed in July despite coronavirus lockdown easing

Car sales rose to above pre-coronavirus levels in July, helping the UK's economic recovery. Credit: PA

The UK economy grew by 6.6% in July but the rate of the country’s financial recovery has slowed down, according to official data.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said GDP increased for the third consecutive month in July after lockdown restrictions eased further, but remained 11.7% below pre-coronavirus levels.

A consensus of analysts predicted a 6.8% month-to-month increase.

  • ITV News Business and Economics Editor Joel Hills explains the latest ONS figures

Figures showed that the economic rebound decelerated after the UK had reported 8.7% growth in June.

The reopening of pubs, restaurants, cafes and hairdressers in England from early July, as well as leisure facilities later in the month, would have helped contribute to the rebound in the economy.

Hotels, bed and breakfasts, holiday homes, campsites and caravan parks were all allowed to reopen as well.

Car sales rose to above pre-virus levels in July, helping to contribute to the UK's recovery.

ITV News Business and Economics Editor Joel Hills said despite the slightly slower pace of recovery compared to June, he said the recovery was "still pretty full-throated" and that the UK had managed to regain half of the ground lost during lockdown.

ONS director of economic statistics Darren Morgan said: “While it has continued steadily on the path towards recovery, the UK economy still has to make up nearly half of the GDP lost since the start of the pandemic.

“Education grew strongly as some children returned to school, while pubs, campsites and hairdressers all saw notable improvements.

“Car sales exceeded pre-crisis levels for the first time with showrooms having a particularly busy time.

“All areas of manufacturing, particularly distillers and car makers, saw improvements, while housebuilding also continued to recover.

“However, both production and construction remain well below previous levels.”