Commenting on today’s Office of National Statistics GDP figures, Nitesh Patel, Strategic Economist at Yorkshire Building Society, said:

After the 2.2% month-on-month decline in January, GDP rebounded in February growing by just 0.4% as a result of the third lockdown with most of hospitality and non-essential retail closed. It appears that January may be the low point, and recent business surveys suggest room for optimism.

Reopening of schools in March will have boosted GDP, and as we enter a new quarter, activity will be boosted by yesterday’s re-opening of pub and restaurant gardens, non-essential retailers, hairdressers, nail salons and gyms. We expect that consumers will be champing at the bit to begin spending money in these sectors again, which seems to be borne out by the queues outside some high street retailers yesterday. Naturally, the outlook is dependent on the continued roll-out of the vaccine programme and keeping infection rates and new variants at bay.

All information correct at time of publication.