The UK economy shrank in July – despite Rishi Sunak’s pledge to grow it.
Official figures released this morning by the Office for National Statistics showed that GDP contracted by 0.5% in July – more than analysts had expected.
According to the ONS, wet weather in July and strikes by junior doctors were partly to blame for the grim data.
In a major speech last January, the prime minister made growing the economy one of his five pledges to voters.
Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said: “Today is another dismal day for growth, and the British economy remains hostage to the Conservatives’ low growth trap that is leaving working people worse off.
“After thirteen years of instability, the Conservatives have left the British economy weaker and families having to cope with higher taxes, higher mortgages and higher food and energy bills.”
Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson Sarah Olney said: “Rishi Sunak has utterly failed to get a grip on the cost of living crisis as mortgage costs continue to spiral and the price of a weekly shop goes through the roof.
“This out of touch Conservative government has completely failed on the economy.”
But chancellor Jeremy Hunt insisted the government would not change course.
He said: “Only by halving inflation can we deliver the sustainable growth and pay rises that the country needs.
“But there are many reasons to be confident about the future. We were among the fastest in the G7 to recover from the pandemic and the International Monetary Fund have said we will grow faster than Germany, France, and Italy in the long term.”