COVID lockdowns have cost the UK economy £251 billion, says CEBR

23 Mar 2021

A year of coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdowns has cost the UK economy £251 billion, according to data from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).

The report compared the organisation's pre-pandemic forecasts for the UK with the level of output 12 months after the first lockdown was announced.

It found that gross value added (GVA) – which measures the value of the goods and services produced by the economy, minus the costs of inputs and raw materials needed to deliver them – was more than £250 billion lower than it would otherwise have been.

According to the CEBR, London accounted for just under a quarter of the UK's GVA but had suffered just over a fifth of the losses since the start of the pandemic.

By contrast, Scotland, Wales and regions such as the West Midlands, East Midlands and the East of England had suffered COVID-induced losses larger than their typical contributions to the economy.

Sam Miley, an economist at the CEBR, said: 'Consumer footfall has plummeted, businesses are still shut and many individuals have found themselves out of work. Further bouts of area-specific restrictions have added some regional variation to economic fortunes, a matter made all the more pertinent given the government's promises to 'level up'.

'If the government is truly committed to addressing regional imbalance, it will not allow these areas to disproportionately bear the weight of the losses brought on by the pandemic. To do otherwise would risk further divergence in fortunes.'

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