British growth is “slowing at a breakneck pace”; inflation expectations jump – business live | Business

On the positive side, the latest figures show the economy is a hair’s breadth away from its pre-Covid position, just 0.5% below February 2020 levels. The new restrictions announced so far remain relatively light, while it is hoped that more stringent measures may not be necessary, thanks to the continued progress of the vaccine booster program.

However, the pressure is clearly on an economy that was already struggling to regain its momentum before the emergence of the new variant, as there is heightened uncertainty about the next stage of a far from ready pandemic. finished.

Faced with these risks, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said he had always recognized that there would be “bumps in the road” to recovery, but the government had already put in place a “plan for continued economic support. of £ 400 billion ”to keep the country on track.

It’s a strange way to describe a program that has largely been dismantled over the past few months, apparently because Sunak believed that a return to economic normalcy was on the cards. The leave scheme disappeared, universal credit was reduced and several tax breaks were canceled.

Business leaders are stepping up their warnings that the absence of new support measures could squander progress in the economy since the lockdown eased earlier this year; especially in sectors most exposed to the Omicron wave, such as hotels, travel and leisure.