Commenting on the latest ONS UK GDP figures, published today, Suren Thiru, Head of Economics at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“While UK GDP growth held steady in the fourth quarter, the resilient headline figure masks a loss of momentum in the quarter from a strong November outturn to a fall in output in December as Omicron suffocated activity.

“Consumer focused services firms endured a difficult December as the emergence of Omicron and plan B restrictions triggered a renewed reluctance among consumers to socialise and spend.

“Although 2021 was a record year for the UK economy, this more reflects data distortions caused by the comparison with the historic collapse in activity in 2020, than the reality on the ground.

“The UK economy is facing a materially weaker 2022 as the crippling burden of rising inflation, soaring energy bills and higher taxes on consumers and businesses dampens activity, despite a temporary boost from the lifting of Plan B restrictions.

“Urgent action is needed to limit the unprecedented surge in costs facing businesses, including financial support for those struggling with soaring energy bills and delaying the impending National Insurance rise. Firms need financial headroom to keep a lid on prices and power the recovery.”

The full ONS GDP data can be found here.