The British economy shrank by a record 20.4 percent in April from the previous month as the country was imposed with a tight coronavirus induced lockdown, as per official data released on Friday. It is expected to be the low point of the slump before a long and slow recovery.
The Office for National Statistics also showed that in the three months to April, gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 10.4 percent from the previous three-month period.
"In line with many other economies around the world, coronavirus is having a severe impact on our economy," said finance minister Rishi Suna.
Government measures including a scheme to pay workers who are only temporarily laid off, alongside grants, loans and tax cuts for companies meant Britain, had "the best chance of recovering quickly as the economy reopens," he said.
Much of Britain's retail sector is due to reopen next week as long as shops follow social distancing rules. Compared with April last year, the economy shrank by 24.5 percent, the ONS said.
Output in the dominant services sector fell by 19.0 percent in April from March while manufacturing was down more than 24 percent and construction crashed by nearly half.
Although some lockdown measures are now being eased, the snapshot from the ONS shows Britain's economy at the onset of the deepest recession ever, worst than the damage recorded in the 2008 financial crisis. The Bank of England also warned that Britain could be heading for its deepest recession in three centuries this year.