Chancellor’s priority revealed as economy suffers deepest annual slump since 1709

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The chancellor says his priority remains protecting jobs as official figures showed the coronavirus crisis had dealt the worst blow to the economy since the Great Frost of 1709.The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said early estimates, subject to revision, suggested that gross domestic product (GDP) tumbled by 9.9% in 2020. Live COVID updates from the UK and around the world Image: Scores of businesses including restaurants and pubs endured a miserable 2020 It was a consequence of large parts of the economy being placed in hibernation through unprecedented lockdowns and other restrictions on normal activity as efforts to contain COVID-19 took their toll on output.The figures showed a fightback from the record quarterly slump between April and June, the second quarter, when GDP nosedived by 20% as a consequence of the initial lockdown. more...