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The West Midlands was the hardest hit part of the UK during the record-breaking collapse in the economy during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, official figures have shown.
In a breakdown of the 18.8% fall in gross domestic product during the second quarter of 2020, the Office for National Statistics said the region that includes Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Coventry had a 21% drop in output.
The ONS data revealed that it was the second quarter in a row the West Midlands had seen the biggest fall in GDP, after a 4.7% decline in the first three months of the year.
Three other English regions recorded falls in output of more than 20% between April and June – the period when the economic hit from the pandemic was most severe. The east of England had a fall of 20.9%, the south-east 20.6% and the north-west 20.3%. London was the least badly affected region, with a fall of 16.6%.
Of the four countries that make up the UK, the ONS said Scotland had been worst affected, recording a fall in GDP of 19.4% in the second quarter. Declines of 19%, 15.1% and 13.6% were recorded by England, Wales and Northern Ireland respectively.
The UK is on course for a fall of about 10% in GDP during 2020 as a whole, making it one of the worst-performing developed economies.
In a separate release, the ONS said that in part this was due to tougher restrictions being in place for longer and the share of consumption – curtailed by the lockdown – being larger in the UK than in other countries.
But it pointed out the UK had a different method for measuring Covid-19’s impact on the public and once this was accounted for the gap with other G7 nations was not as large.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: West Midlands was worst-hit part of UK in first Covid-19 wave | Economics