GDP nears pre-COVID levels

Gross domestic product (GDP) is now only 0.1% below pre-pandemic levels, according to estimates from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Following a decline of 9.3% in 2020 overall, GDP rebounded by 7.4% in 2021 overall. In the last quarter of 2021, it grew by 1.3%.

The UK's net borrowing rate reduced to a negative 1.3% as a percentage of GDP in Q4 2021, compared to a negative 5.4% in Q3 2021.

The ONS said the main areas which contributed to the increase in Q4 2021 GDP were human health and social work, the vaccination programme and an increase in test and trace activity.

Transport and storage also grew by 7.7% in the final quarter of 2021. This was driven by the return of retail, specifically around Black Friday sales and the build-up to Christmas.

Figures show that accommodation and food services decreased by 3.6%, mainly due to the rise of Omicron cases towards the end of the year.

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