British business activity contracted in November as the UK’s huge services industry suffered from new COVID-19 restrictions, including the second lockdown in England.
The downturn was driven by the fastest reduction in service sector output since May amid temporary business closures among leisure and hospitality companies, the survey showed.
In contrast to the services sector, manufacturing production expanded at a robust pace during November and the rate of growth accelerated since the previous month. The growth was mainly linked to a sustained recovery in production volumes after stoppages at the start of the pandemic.
However, the latest manufacturing PMI survey pointed to a sharp lengthening of supplier delivery times amid severe delays at UK ports, alongside a robust degree of stock building as manufacturers sought to accumulate critical inputs before the end of the Brexit transition period on Dec. 31.
The British people will soon see the “economic shock laid bare” and the country cannot sustain record levels of public borrowing, he told The Sunday Times.
But Andy Haldane, Bank of England chief economist, said the pandemic will leave “lasting scars.”
"The vaccine announcements of the past few weeks offer hope at the end of the tunnel," Haldane said on Monday in comments to a conference for charities organised by Civil Society Media.
"Nonetheless, even with a vaccine, it's clear this crisis will lead to some lasting scars, particularly on the poorest and the most disadvantaged."