Britain’s economy grew by 2.3% in April as the high street and hospitality sector reopened, official figures show.
The GDP data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) covers a period when non-essential retail as well as outdoor drinking and dining were allowed to resume.
It followed a subdued start to the year when latest lockdown measures had sent the economy into reverse gear.
The ONS said that April’s monthly growth was the fastest since July last year, when businesses were reopening after the initial period of coronavirus restrictions.
But gross domestic product (GDP) was still 3.7% below its pre-pandemic peak of February 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in GDP shrinking by nearly 10% in 2020, the biggest collapse in 300 years.
Forecasters predict that as Britain emerges from the crisis it will see a consumer-led bounce back with the fastest pace of growth since the Second World War.
But there are fears that a delay to the 21 June date for the end of lockdown measures could hold back the recovery.