Economy Flatlines In Yet Another Bit Of Bad News For Rishi Sunak

Rishi Sunak vowed to grow the economy – but it just flatlined.
Rishi Sunak vowed to grow the economy – but it just flatlined. Leon Neal via Getty Images

Rishi Sunak’s pledge to grow the economy is back to square one, as official figures have revealed there was zero growth in April.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) found monthly growth dropped from 0.4% in March to 0%, suggesting recovery form the brief recession had slowed.

As experts in the field had predicted, the economy was weighed down by the particularly wet weather – rainfall exceeded the long-term average for the month – which deterred consumer speeding.

Spending on services increased for the fourth consecutive month but it was overshadowed by the decline in production and in the construction industry.

The cost of living crisis continues to put pressure on the general public too, as output in services for consumers declined by 0.7%.

The bad news comes as the prime minister, already battling with a gaffe-prone campaign, is struggling to stay in second place in the opinion polls.

It dashed any hope of strong economic bounce back ahead of the general election on July 4, despite Sunak’s declaration that the economy had “turned the corner” in February.

But, it’s not all bad news for the PM.

The ONS did record the fastest economy growth in two years from January to March, which enabled the UK to leave the recession quickly.

Monthly GDP data is very volatile and the economy grew by 0.7% from February to April.

Still, this update from the ONS will pour cold water on the PM’s divisive claim that the UK economy is going “gangbusters”, in reference to Britain’s first-quarter growth of 0.6%.

Labour’s shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said: “Rishi Sunak claims we have turned a corner, but the economy has stalled and there is no growth.

“These figures expose the damage done after 14 years of Conservative chaos.

“We are now in the third week of this General Election campaign and in that time the Labour Party has set out its plan to grow the economy by bringing back stability, unlocking private sector investment and reforming our planning system.”

She added that the Tories are only offering “more of the same”.