The UK economy grew at its fastest rate since the Second World War last year after GDP surged by 7.5%, official figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have revealed. The resurgence comes after a devastating 9.4% collapse in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the rebound looks like good news on the surface, many will be asking what this means in real terms for Brits - particularly given the recent challenges regarding the cost of living. Luckily, the experts at money.co.uk have put together a handy guide with all the need-to-know information.
James Andrews, Senior Personal Finance Editor at money.co.uk, said: “Today’s figures show that at the end of last year the economy was back to where it was before COVID-19 hit.
“So while the 7.5% increase was the biggest single-year economic surge since records began, over two years that growth figure becomes -0.4% with the economy in Q4 2021 and Q4 2019 having almost identical GDP figures.
“Of course, that recovery is no small achievement given how hard British businesses have been hit by a combination of a global pandemic and a radical re-alignment of trade with the EU over the period.
“It’s tempting to see this bounce back as a sign of brighter things ahead - especially with the removal of COVID-19 restrictions both at home and abroad - but the skyrocketing cost of living and interest rate hikes from the Bank of England at the start of 2022 mean families might well still be struggling to make ends meet.
“Just last month inflation rocketed to 5.4% - its highest level in 30 years. Meanwhile, recent research revealed that average personal debt in 2021 more than doubled in the space of just 12 months to a whopping £25,879 a person.
“For more about personal finances in the UK, see money.co.uk’s debt index here: https://www.money.co.uk/current-accounts/debt-index.”
James has spent the past 15 years writing and editing personal finance news, specialising in consumer rights, pensions, insurance, property and investments - picking up a series of awards for his journalism along the way.