Britain’s pandemic-battered economy grew more strongly than expected in March as it gathered speed for a bounce-back from its coronavirus slump of 2020, official data showed on Wednesday.
The 2.1% growth from February was led by the reopening of schools which, alongside COVID-19 testing and vaccinations, pushed up activity in the public sector and by retailers as consumers spent some of their lockdown savings.
There was also a burst of work in the construction sector ahead of the expiry of a tax break for home-buyers.
Analysts polled by Reuters had expected monthly growth of 1.3% for world’s fifth-biggest economy.
“Businesses and the government alike will feel this data marks a turning point,” Ana Boata, head of macroeconomic research at trade credit insurer Euler Hermes, said.
“With the ongoing easing of restrictions, confirmed this week by the prime minister, there’s hope that this could be the start of a long hot summer for British businesses.”