The British economy during 2020 – which was severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic and related lockdowns – saw its greatest yearly decline since the 1700s, government figures showed on Friday.
According to the statistics from Britain’s Office of National Statistics, gross domestic product contracted by 9.9 percent last year – the greatest decline in more than 300 years, according to the Bank of England.
The British economy showed small growth of 1 percent over the final three months of 2020 – well below its performance in the final quarter of 2019 – and a 16.1-percent growth in the third quarter.
The first half of 2020, however – which saw the arrival of the pandemic and sweeping restrictions nationwide that affected economic performance – brought significant losses.
The economy contracted by about 3 percent in the first quarter and a record 19 percent in the second, the report shows.
According to the Bank of England, the last time Britain saw such an economic decline was 1709, when GDP contracted 13 percent for the year that included a bitter winter called the Great Frost. The economy lost 9.7 percent in 1921 following World War I.
The 2020 decline effectively wiped out all economic gains in Britain made after 2013, which was the last time GDP was at its present size.
By comparison, France’s economy declined by 8.3 percent for 2020, Italy by 8.8 percent, and Germany 5 percent.