Economy shrank by a fifth in April as lockdown took hold

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that economic activity was down by 20.4% in April – the largest drop in a single month since records began in 1997, and worse than many experts were forecasting. Load Error It means that GDP fell by 10.4% in the three months to April and sets the UK on course for one of its worst quarters in history. Neil Birrell, chief investment officer at asset manager Premier Miton, said: “All the economic data out of the UK for April showed the economy to be in awful shape – in fact, worse than expected. “Businesses will be reluctant to hire and spend on new projects as they repair their finances, particularly as social distancing eats into demand and productivity.