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UK Economy Enters Recession, First Time Since The 2008 Global Financial Crisis

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“UK gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated to have fallen by a record 20.4% in Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2020, marking the second consecutive quarterly decline after it fell by 2.2% in Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2020.” – Office for National Statistics (ONS) Report, UK.

Global Coronavirus Tracking Map: (Active Cases)

Source: The New York Times (NYT)

The COVID-19 pandemic crisis has not alone inflicted pain on the health of the people but also the global economies where one’s income, growth, and existence is directly linked their own growth. The deadliest virus which infected around 21083098 people across the world and causing a death toll of 763323 people, had already devastated a lot of families and communities. In the UK, the virus has infected around 315600 people and a death toll of 46791, not alone has plunged the UK economy into a deep recession. But also the previous political uncertainties of Brexit deal, whether to be in the European Union (EU) or not, has also contributed to the existing economic crisis, which leads the UK economy to enter into the deepest recession since the 2008 Global Financial Crisis (GFC).

On August 12, 2020, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) of United Kingdom (UK) government has released an official statistical report confirming the official GDP figures for the second quarter (Q2)/(April to June) of 2020 financial year (FY2020) as record negative” in numbers. In that report, the ONS has recorded that the UK economy has technically entered into a deep recession with a contraction of 20.4% GDP in the Q2 of FY2020, for the first time in 11 years, since the 2008 GFC.

Fall Of UK Economy Real GDP By 20.4% In Q2 Of FY2020 (GDP Estimates From Q1 (Jan to Mar) 2005 To Q2 (Apr to June) 2020)

Source: CNBC. *Note: Index is referenced to Q4 (Oct to Dec) 2019.

From the graph, it is evident that there is a fall of real GDP of the UK in the Q2 of FY2020 to 20.4%, compared to a fall of 2.2% in the Q1 (Jan to Mar) of FY2020. When compared with the Q4 of FY2019, the GDP of the UK has decreased by 22.1% in Q2 of FY2020, a record negative figure in the history of GDP quarterly calculations that began in 1955.

Tweet By the Office for National Statistics (ONS)

UK Economy Worst Among the G7 Nations

The UK’s quarterly (Q2) contraction is by far negative than any other G7 nation. In this regard, France has reported a contraction of 13.8%, Italy – 12.4%, Germany – 10.1%, Canada -12%, the US – 9.5%, and Japan – 7.6%.

Fall Of Output Across The Services, Production, And Construction Sectors

The report highlights that due to the COVID-19 shutdowns of business activities, “There have been record quarterly falls in services, production and construction output in Quarter 2, which have been particularly prevalent in those industries that have been most exposed to government restrictions.”

The Decline Of Output Across The Services, Production And Construction Sectors

Source: Office for National Statistics – GDP first quarterly estimate. *Note: The graph shows the calculated quarters Q1 (Jan to Mar) FY2020 & Q2 (Apr to Jun) FY2020. It also shows % quarter on quarter growth rates.

Decline Of Services Output

The graph shows a fall of output in Q1 at 2.3% and followed by 19.9% in Q2 FY2020. The report highlights that the notable number of industries which contributed to this fall in the service sectors were, as follows:

  • accommodation & food services
  • wholesale & retail trade
  • repair of motor vehicles
  • human health & social work facilities and
  • education

All these services were accounted for almost 52.4% of the total contraction in the services in Q2. The only exception came from the public administration & defense, which grew at 0.4% in the Q2.

Decline Of Production Output

In Q1 the output from the production services fell by 1.5% and in Q2 the output fell by 16.9%, marking a fifth consecutive quarterly decline as the post Brexit uncertainty exists in the UK. The Q2 decline was the result of the drop in the production in the month of April to 20.4%, which caused the fall in the manufacturing output. In production output, the manufacturing sub-sector output fell to a record level of 20.2% in Q2, compared to 1.1% in Q1.

Decline Of Construction Output

The construction services recorded a fall of output at 35.0% in Q2, compared to 1.7% in Q1. This record fall has reflected the declines in both the new work and the repair & maintenance. In this sector, the private new housing has declined by 51.2% as the social distance measures have affected the housing activities to contain the virus. Further, the ONS reports that, “In addition, construction new orders fell by a record 51.1% in Quarter 2 to £6.2bn; their lowest level since records began in Quarter 1 1964”.

Video Explaining The Entry Of The UK Into Recession

What The Fall In GDP Tells About Britain

Overall the decrease in the real GDP of Q2 of FY2020 is worrisome, as the UK Finance Minister (FM) Rishi Sunak warns that, “Hundreds of thousands of people have already lost their jobs, and sadly in the coming months many more will”.

UK Finance Ministry’s Video Warning ‘Hard times Are Here’ For The UK

With closures of companies, the rise of inflation, decline in private consumer spending, weak global and domestic demand, labor shortage and after all the prevalence of virus across the nation, it’s unlikely that the growth will pick up a speedy recovery in the upcoming quarters until there is a complete containment of the virus. With sectors on shutdowns, there may be a high unemployment rate in the coming months, as said by FM. But this will be the new normal in the UK economy until it bounces back itself to where it was in positive growth.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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