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The UK economy grew by 0.4 per cent in August this year – but it is still below pre-pandemic levels. 

Numbers published this morning by the Office for National Statistics revealed that UK gross domestic product remains 0.8 per cent lower than it was before the coronavirus crisis. 

Meanwhile, the ONS said its figures for July have been revised downwards in a move likely to cause alarm in the Treasury. 

The ONS originally said the economy had grown by 0.1 per cent in July but it has now been changed to a 0.1 per cent contraction. 

The UK economy grew by 0.4 per cent in August this year – but it is still below pre-pandemic levels

The ONS said growth picked up in August as the economy benefited from the full lifting of coronavirus restrictions, which boosted hospitality and events sectors. 

It changed its assessment of the economic picture in July because of downwardly revised data relating to the manufacture of cars, oil and gas. 

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: ‘Our economic recovery is continuing with more employees on payrolls than ever before and the UK forecast to have the fastest growth in the G7 this year.

‘As we rebuild from the pandemic, we are taking action to ensure our economy remains strong by helping people find great work through our Plan for Jobs.’     

Darren Morgan, director of economic statistics at the ONS, said: ‘The economy picked up in August as bars, restaurants and festivals benefited from the first full month without Covid-19 restrictions in England.

‘This was offset by falls in health activity with fewer people visiting GPs and less testing and tracing.

‘However, later and slightly weaker data from a number of industries now mean we estimate the economy fell a little overall in July.’

The ONS said that services output grew by 0.3 per cent in August with output in consumer-facing services increasing by 1.2 per cent. 

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the UK’s economic recovery ‘is continuing’ – but the downwardly revised figures for July are likely to cause some alarm in the Treasury

All other services saw output increase by 0.1 per cent, pushing them to 0.4 per cent above their pre-pandemic levels. 

However, overall consumer-facing services remain 4.7 per cent below the level recorded in February 2020. 

Boosts in the accommodation, hospitality, arts, entertainment and recreation industries ‘contributed most positively’ to services growth in August, the ONS said.