British economic recovery almost ground to a halt in July according to the latest data from the Office of National Statistics. Gross Domestic Product, better known as GDP, rose by a miniscule 0.1%; half a percentage point off the target forecasted and a mere 10% of the growth experienced in June.
Workforce shortages were highlighted as the main issue. The ONS claims that shortages were caused by the NHS Track & Trace app and the 'pingdemic' forcing people to isolate, but some of the staffing shortages were regarding pay disputes amidst the ongoing inflation.
This inflation can be seen in the rising cost of raw materials, due to the ongoing shortage of supply – particularly painful in the UK with the HGV driver shortage amidst the new Brexit rules. As a result, the construction regressed, while manufacturing and services made no movement.
With Brexit in mind, trade between the UK and EU was also down in July to the tune of £1.7 billion in trade compared to July 2018, while imports from the Eurozone to Britain were down by £3 billion. The UK's new trade regulations have slowed down the import of medical products and pharmaceuticals; hardly a surprise in a pandemic but equally bad timing for such a thing to happen.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak downplayed the difficulties, telling reporters that the UK's recovery was “well under way” and pointing to the vaccination program and rising employment figures, but some experts are concerned that the winter flu season – combined with improved conditions for Covid to flourish – could hinder Britain's economy all over again.