The British economy shrank by 11% in 2020, its sharpest contraction in more than 300 years, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, revised data by the official statistics body showed on Monday.
The Office for National Statistics had originally estimated that Britain’s gross domestic product shrank by 9.3% in 2020, but the latest revision came about due to changes to the way the data are calculated, it said.
The contraction represents the sharpest since the “Great Frost” of 1709, according to data held by the Bank of England.
The UK economy has therefore shrunk by more than all other Group of Seven economies, but the ONS pointed out that only the US had so far undertaken the same type of in-depth revisions.
“Our more up-to-date data show that the health service faced higher costs than we initially estimated, meaning its overall contribution to the economy was lower,” said the ONS statistician Craig McClaren.
“Another industry where we have seen downward revisions is retail.
“More detailed estimates balance together a number of sources at a detailed product level and suggest retailers and wholesalers sold less than we initially thought during the pandemic,” he said.