UK economy flatlines in April in blow to Sunak

The UK economy flatlined in April, according to early official figures that have been seized on by the government’s critics as evidence the Conservatives’ plan is not working.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said there was zero growth in April compared to the 0.4% figure recorded during March.

A Reuters news agency poll of economists had predicted the 0% performance given earlier evidence that wet weather had knocked retail sales and construction output particularly hard.

Money latest:
The most expensive place to buy a seaside home in the UK

The GDP (gross domestic product) report from the ONS – the last to be released ahead of the election – showed UK overall rainfall at 155% of the long-term average in April.

Construction output was found to have declined by 1.4% as a result, the number crunchers said, also aided by poor demand for construction products in the manufacturing sector.

Production was down by 0.9% while the mighty services sector – accounting for almost 80% of UK output – grew by just 0.2%.

More from Business

Despite the emphasis on the hit from rain, the numbers still represent a setback for prime minister Rishi Sunak’s key election argument that the economy is improving.

Battle for no 10 promo
Battle for no 10 promo

The UK exited a short-lived recession at the end of 2023 when growth of 0.6% was registered in the first quarter of the current year.

While economists continue to see growth in the three months to June, expectations are for growth of around 0.3% – half the rate achieved between January and March.

Liberal Democrat Treasury spokeswoman Sarah Olney said the lack of growth showed the Tories had “utterly failed” to deliver on their promises.

“As Rishi Sunak’s time as prime minister peters out, so does the UK’s economic growth,” she said.

“The Conservatives have utterly failed to deliver the growth they repeatedly promised, instead presiding over stagnation and economic misery for hardworking families across the country.

“The Conservatives’ manifesto shows they simply lack the ambition and vision to get the economy moving again.

“It’s clear for voters across the country that the only way to make it happen is to vote them out of office on July 4.”

Follow Sky News on WhatsApp
Follow Sky News on WhatsApp

Keep up with all the latest news from the UK and around the world by following Sky News

Tap here

This breaking news story is being updated and more details will be published shortly.

Please refresh the page for the fullest version.

You can receive Breaking News alerts on a smartphone or tablet via the Sky News App. You can also follow @SkyNews on X or subscribe to our YouTube channel to keep up with the latest news.

Articles You May Like

Bus set on fire and police car flipped over as riot breaks out in Leeds
Amazon’s deal with AI startup Adept faces FTC scrutiny
What we know so far about gunman in Trump assassination attempt
Higgins to play on tag in ’24 as deadline passes
Prime Day Green Deals: EVs, power stations, tools, smart devices, appliances, more