THE UK economy grew by 1.8 per cent in May as easing of coronavirus lockdown helped its recovery.

But GDP has not yet recovered from record falls in March and April and is still down 24.5 per cent compared to February, according to figures by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

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The UK economy fell by 5.8 per cent in March as coronavirus lockdown triggered a crash in activity.

GDP then fell by 20.4 per cent in April – the biggest monthly fall on record

Jonathan Athow, deputy national statistician at the Office for National Statistics (ONS), said of the May economy figures: "Manufacturing and house-building showed signs of recovery as some businesses saw staff return to work.

"Despite this, the economy was still a quarter smaller in May than in February, before the full effects of the pandemic struck.

"In the important services sector we saw some pick-up in retail, which saw record online sales.

"However, with lockdown restrictions remaining in place, many other services remained in the doldrums, with a number of areas seeing further declines."

Meanwhile UK retailers have said they saw the biggest monthly sales jump in more than two years in June after swathes of high street stores reopened but warned that the troubled sector is "not out of the woods yet".

The BRC-KPMG retail sales monitor for June revealed a 3.4 per cent increase, representing the highest increase since May 2018.

More to follow…

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