THE UK economy grew by 15.5% in the three months to September as it continues to bounce back from coronavirus.
However, gross domestic product (GDP) is still down 8.2% compared to pre-pandemic levels.
On a monthly basis, GDP grew by 1.1% in September – its fifth consecutive increase, according to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The economy grew by 2.1% the previous month after it was boosted by the Eat Out to Help Out scheme.
But analysts warn the economy is likely to shrink again at the end of the year after England entered a second lockdown.
There are hopes, however, that GDP will return to pre-pandemic levels quicker than expected if coronavirus vaccine trials prove successful.
It comes after the UK officially plunged into its "worst ever" recession in August 2020 after GDP shrunk by a record 20.4% in three months.
Economists consider two consecutive three-month periods where GDP falls as the technical definition of a recession.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: "Today's figures show that our economy was recovering over the summer, but started to slow going into autumn.
"The steps we've had to take since to halt the spread of the virus mean growth has likely slowed further since then.
"But there are reasons to be cautiously optimistic on the health side – including promising news on tests and vaccines.
"There are still hard times ahead, but we will continue to support people through this and ensure nobody is left without hope or opportunity."
More to follow…
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