Responding to latest official GDP figures, showing GDP fell in March by 5.8%, Tej Parikh, Chief Economist at the Institute of Directors, said:
“These figures provide a sobering first glimpse of the economic turmoil caused by the outbreak.
“It’s difficult to overstate the upheaval, which hasn’t been restricted to sectors like retail and hospitality, but has reverberated across different industries. In many cases, demand is still stagnant or falling, and we expect firms’ activity levels to remain depressed for the foreseeable future.
“While countless companies have made adjustments with admirable speed, many will find it difficult to operate at anything like normal capacity under social distancing rules. The furlough scheme has undoubtedly staved off redundancies, and the new flexibility provides businesses a better chance of rebooting.
“The Treasury will need to continue innovating to kickstart any recovery. The Government’s loan scheme provided ready cash, but now leaves many firms saddled with debt. Unless this is managed well, it will drag on business investment for long after the lockdown ends.”