The record contraction of the British economy in the second quarter was less severe than previously thought after revised official data showed that the pandemic plunged gross domestic product by 19.8% between April and June.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) also revised the first quarter data, which now shows a stronger 2.5% contraction between January and March.

Previously, GDP was estimated to have fallen by 2.2% in the first quarter and by 20.4% in the following three months.

Despite the revisions, the UK economy has still plunged into its biggest recession since current records began after two successive quarters of falling GDP due to the coronavirus crisis.

The ONS said: “While it is still true that these early estimates are subject to revision, we prefer to focus on the magnitude of the contraction that has taken place in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“It is clear that the UK is in the biggest recession on record.

“The latest estimates show that the UK economy is now 21.8% lower than at the end of 2019, highlighting the unprecedented magnitude of this contraction.”