UK narrowly avoids recession but set for one in 2023
The UK narrowly avoided plunging into a recession last year, figures show, after the economy recorded zero growth in the last quarter of 2022.
The economy flatlined between October and December last year, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said on Friday. Unrounded figures showed 0.01 per cent growth.
This preliminary estimate means that the UK did not see two consecutive quarters of declining gross domestic product (GDP) – the technical definition of a recession.
In December, the economy dropped by 0.5 per cent partly due to workers from transport to the NHS, education to delivery drivers taking industrial action throughout the month.
The Bank of England still expects the UK to enter recession this year, though it will be shorter and less severe than previously thought.
Darren Morgan, director of economic statistics at the Office for National Statistics (ONS), said: “The economy contracted sharply in December meaning, overall, there was no growth in the economy over the last three months of 2022.
“In December public services were hit by fewer operations and GP visits, partly due to the impact of strikes, as well as notably lower school attendance. Meanwhile, the break in Premier League football for the World Cup and postal strikes also caused a slowdown.
“However, these falls were partially offset by a strong month for lawyers, growth in car sales and the cold snap increasing energy generation.
“Across 2022 as a whole, the economy grew 4 per cent. Despite recent squeezes in household incomes, restaurants, bars and travel agents had a strong year.
“Meanwhile, health and education also began to recover from the effects of the pandemic.”
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt warned the UK was “not out the woods yet” after ONS data showed the economy narrowly avoided recession.
He said: “The fact the UK was the fastest growing economy in the G7 last year, as well as avoiding a recession, shows our economy is more resilient than many feared.
“However, we are not out the woods yet, particularly when it comes to inflation.
“If we stick to our plan to halve inflation this year, we can be confident of having amongst the best prospects for growth of anywhere in Europe.”