Omicron takes toll on UK business growth

British businesses grew at the slowest pace since April 2021 during the past three months, after demand for face-to-face services slumped due to the Omicron variant of coronavirus, the Confederation of British Industry said on Sunday.

Britain’s economy only recovered to its pre-pandemic size in November, before being hit by the highly infectious Omicron variant which led to government advice to work from home and restrictions on hospitality in Scotland and Wales.

“Consumer services have borne the brunt of ‘Plan B’ restrictions and general Omicron caution, with activity here shrinking sharply,” CBI economist Alpesh Paleja said.

The CBI’s monthly growth index fell to +12 in January from +21 in December.

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