Britain has officially fallen into recession after the pandemic sent the economy plunging by a record 21% between April and June.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) confirmed the mammoth second quarter contraction, the worst in western Europe, and the UK’s nosedive into recession after a 2.2% fall in the first three months of 2020.
The last time Britain was in recession was during the financial crisis in 2009.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the figures “confirm that hard times are here”.
“Hundreds of thousands of people have already lost their jobs, and sadly in the coming months many more will.
“But while there are difficult choices to be made ahead, we will get through this, and I can assure people that nobody will be left without hope or opportunity.”
A recession is defined as two successive quarters of decline in gross domestic product (GDP).
But monthly figures showed the economy bounced back by 8.7% in June, following upwardly revised growth of 2.4% in May, as lockdown restrictions eased.
The ONS said the economy was still a long way off from recovering the record falls seen in March and April after tumbling into “the largest recession on record”.
Jonathan Athow, deputy national statistician at the ONS, said: “The recession brought on by the coronavirus pandemic has led to the biggest fall in quarterly GDP on record.
“The economy began to bounce back in June, with shops reopening, factories beginning to ramp up production and house-building continuing to recover.
“Despite this, GDP in June still remains a sixth below its level in February, before the virus struck.
“Overall, productivity saw its largest-ever fall in the second quarter. Hospitality was worst hit, with productivity in that industry falling by three-quarters in recent months.”