General Election 2024: Official April UK economic data flatline

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By Creative Media News

  • UK economy stagnates in April: 0% growth
  • Labour, Lib Dems blame Conservatives’ policies
  • Critics cite rain, weak construction, manufacturing

Labour and the Liberal Democrats point to the latest official growth data as further evidence that the Conservatives have crashed the economy, despite the fact that the study states that momentum was lost due to the wettest April in 12 years.

The UK economy stagnated in April, according to official numbers cited by the government’s critics as evidence that the Conservatives’ much-touted strategy is failing.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported a zero increase in April, compared to 0.4% in March.

A Reuters news agency poll of economists expected a 0% performance, citing earlier indications that bad weather had hit retail sales and construction activity particularly hard.

The final ONS GDP (gross domestic product) report before the election revealed that April rainfall in the UK was 155% of the long-term average.

The data crunchers reported a 1.4% decline in construction output, which they attributed to the manufacturing sector’s low demand for construction products.

Production fell by 0.9%, while the services sector, which accounts for over 80% of total UK output, increased by only 0.2%.

Despite the emphasis on rain, the figures are a setback to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s core electoral argument that the economy is improving following successive strikes from the COVID outbreak and the cost of living problem.

The UK emerged from a brief recession at the end of 2023, with 0.6% growth in the first quarter of this year.

While economists forecast growth in the three months to June, it will be around 0.3%, which is half the rate attained between January and March.

Before polling day on July 4, the Bank of England will announce its interest rate decision.

Financial markets and experts expect little chance of a rate drop on June 20, owing to wage growth, which risks fueling price growth further following significant headway in the war against inflation.

The consumer price index measure is currently at 2.3% and is projected to fall further when the May results are revealed.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt stated, “There is more to do, but the economy is turning a corner and inflation is returning to normal.”

He went on to say that the Conservatives would “keep the economy growing with our clear plan to cut taxes on work, homes, and pensions.”.

However, shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves commented on the ONS data: “Rishi Sunak claims we have turned a corner, but the economy has stalled and there is no growth.

These data demonstrate the damage 14 years of Conservative turmoil has caused.

We are now in the third week of the general election campaign, and the Labour Party has laid out its strategy to boost the economy by restoring stability, freeing private sector investment, and reforming our planning system.

The Conservatives are only offering more of the same, with a frantic wish list of unfunded spending promises that will cost homeowners £4,800 extra on their mortgages. Rishi Sunak’s strategy calls for five more years of Tory instability.

According to Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman Sarah Olney, the absence of growth in April demonstrated that the Conservatives had “utterly failed” to deliver on their pledges.

According to her, the UK’s economic development would slow as Rishi Sunak’s tenure as prime minister comes to an end.

The Conservatives have consistently failed to provide the growth they promised, instead ruling over stagnation and economic hardship for hardworking families across the country.

The Conservative manifesto demonstrates that they simply lack the ambition and vision to get the economy rolling again.

Voters around the country understand that the only way to make this happen is to vote them out of office on July 4.

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According to Yael Selfin, chief economist at KPMG UK, the economy is expected to gain speed in the next few months due to improving consumer optimism and solid wage growth.

The early summer general election could help ease political uncertainty, boosting business investment.

Nonetheless, whichever party wins the election will have to deal with a number of supply-side issues that will limit the UK’s long-term development prospects.

We predict that economic activity will continue to be sluggish in historical terms this year, with growth of only 0.5%.

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