UK economy’s catchup period on course to be shorter than after 2008 crisis

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Analysis: stronger than expected first quarter means more chunky increases in GDP on cards as Covid controls ease

In normal circumstances, news that the UK economy had contracted by 1.5% in the first three months of 2021 would be considered deeply concerning. Falls of that size only tend to happen in the most severe recessions.

Yet the early months of this year were anything but normal. A new wave of the Covid-19 pandemic meant the country started 2021 in lockdown and it remained that way until restrictions were slightly eased in March. Simultaneously, new trade rules with the EU came into force.

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