London: Britain’s economic growth slowed more than expected in July as concerns over the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19 overshadowed the government’s decision to lift most social distancing rules.
The economy expanded 0.1 percent for the month, after 1 percent in June. According to a survey by Pantheon Macroeconomics, economists had expected an increase in gross domestic product of 0.5 percent.
A widespread staff shortage was reported in July when thousands of workers were forced to self-isolate after the government’s COVID-19 app notified them that they had come into contact with someone who tested positive for the virus .
The pingdemy hit the UK after the government eased restrictions on July 19 and the Delta variant boosted infection rates.
Retailers, manufacturers and food suppliers have also reported disruptions due to a shortage of truck drivers related to the pandemic and the UK’s exit from the European Union, which has made it difficult for many Europeans to work in the UK
Alpesh Paleja, chief economist with the Confederation of British Industry, said the companies hope the disruptions are temporary and urged the government to provide more visas for truck drivers.
To ease that pressure, temporary, targeted interventions are needed to allow companies to keep their doors open, he said.