There are a number of reasons why the UK’s economic performance was so much worse than other G7 countries in the second quarter of 2020. These included:
Other countries, such as Spain, Italy and France locked down their economies more quickly than the UK, which resulted in more of the economic hit coming in their first quarter. Britain locked down later.
Having been slow to act, the UK kept tough restrictions in place for longer than most other countries in western Europe.
The decision to close schools meant many working parents – 8% of employees on some estimates – have had to stay at home and look after their children rather than going to work. Schools in many other countries have reopened.
Structure of the economy
Britain is primarily a service sector economy and a relatively large share of activity depends on face-to-face social interaction that is susceptible to physical distancing. Consumer spending in areas such as cinema, restaurants, hotels and live entertainment accounts for 13% of the economy in the UK, compared with 11% in the US and 10% in the eurozone, according to Goldman Sachs.
The fear factor
Polls have shown that people in the UK are more worried about Covid-19 than the populations of other countries. Ministers are concerned this may have slowed the return to work as restrictions were gradually lifted in May and June.