Barometer

Has Covid turned us into a nation of cyclists?

19 June 2021

9:00 AM

19 June 2021

9:00 AM

On this day

Would 19 July make a suitable ‘freedom day’ (assuming Covid restrictions are lifted even then)? There is an ominous warning from history. In 1919, 19 July was designated ‘Peace Day’, on which victory in the Great War would be celebrated with parades and banquets, three weeks after the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. In London 20,000 service men and women marched on a seven-mile route past the temporary Cenotaph. Many demobbed servicemen felt aggrieved, however, that so much money was being spent on celebrations when many of them were out of work and still without the housing they had been promised. Trouble erupted in several towns, but in Luton it escalated into a full-scale riot during which a crowd burned down the town hall where a feast had been prepared for local dignitaries. The mayor was forced to flee the town.

This little piggy went to market

How big is the UK sausage market?

— In the 52 weeks to 18 April the volume of pork sausages sold in the UK increased by 10%

— The value of sales rose by 15% to £826 million

— Burgers had an even better year, however, with sales volumes rising by 21% and value of sales rising by 26%

— Nevertheless, we still consume only a little over half as many burgers as we do sausages, with burger sales amounting to £441.5 million

Source: Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board

Rolling down the road

Has Covid turned us into a nation of cyclists? Travel by various modes as a percentage of pre-pandemic levels (seven-day average to 11 June):


Cycling: 116%

Car: 97%

Bus (outside London): 65%

London bus: 64%

National rail: 51%

Tube: 44%

Source: Department for Transport

Now for the goods news

How did international trade compare in April with April 2019, before the pandemic? In billions:

      April 2019    |    April 2021

Non-EU exports: £17.4 | £14.9

Non-EU imports: £19.9 | £21.9

EU exports: £12.5 | £13.1

EU imports: £19.9 | £17.2

Source: HMRC

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