Britain’s economy grew stronger than expected in November before the Omicron variant struck, bouncing back for the first time above pre-pandemic levels.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said gross domestic product (GDP) had risen 0.9% during the month, up from a just 0.1% rise in October.
Analysts had predicted a 0.4% rise in November.
It meant the world’s fifth-biggest economy was 0.7% bigger than it was in February 2020, the ONS said.
However, despite November’s acceleration in growth, GDP is likely to have taken a hit in December when the Omicron coronavirus variant swept across the world.
The loss of momentum is likely to have stretched into January with many firms reporting severe staff absences and consumers still wary of going out.
But health officials think the Omicron infections wave has now peaked in the UK and economists say the impact on the the economy is likely to be short-lived, allowing the Bank of England to continue raising interest rates.
Office for National Statistics chief economist Grant Fitzner said: “The economy grew strongly…