11/07/2018 - Heatwave Boosts British Economy

GBP

The start of the summer heatwave has helped the British economy recover ground after grinding to a halt earlier this year, despite a severe downturn for the manufacturing industry in the three months to May.

Presenting its first ever estimates for gross domestic product (GDP) on a monthly basis, the Office for National Statistics said warmer weather and the royal wedding in May helped Britain bounce back from zero growth in March, when the “beast from the east” caused the UK economy to flatline.

GDP increased by 0.3% in May, up from 0.2% in April, as shoppers returned to the high street and activity among computer programming companies and law firms increased. Overall consumer spending grew by 5.1 per cent, similar to growth last year. Essential spending on food and fuel was dragged back by poor supermarket spending growth of only 0.8 per cent.

The Football world Cup prompted the biggest spike in non-essential consumer spending in June since October 2016, as Britons spent 33 per cent more in pubs during England’s first match. Non-essential spending jumped by 5.5 per cent in June compared to the previous year, the strongest year-on-year growth since October 2016, according to data to be published Yesterday by Barclaycard.

British Prime Minister Theresa May won support from many of her ministers yesterday after two top cabinet members quit saying her Brexit plan was too half-hearted. May said she had chaired a “productive” meeting of her government, undeterred by the resignations on Sunday and Monday of Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson - the face of Brexit for many Britons - and Brexit negotiator David Davis. With less than nine months left until Britain is due to leave the bloc, May is sticking to her plan for a “business friendly” Brexit. She looks set on facing down hardline Brexit supporters in her Conservative Party who are livid over her plans to negotiate a “free trade area for goods” with the EU.

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