Britain's economy has grown for a third month in a row as the country tries to recover from its coronavirus lockdown crash, official data shows.
Output expanded by 6.6 per cent in July from June, helped by the further lifting of restrictions in sectors such as pubs, bars and restaurants.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected growth of 6.7 per cent in July.
However, the economy remained 11.7 per cent smaller than its level in February, before the pandemic hit Britain.
"While it has continued steadily on the path towards recovery, the UK economy still has to make up nearly half of the GDP lost since the start of the pandemic," ONS statistician Darren Morgan said.
The pound fell against the dollar as the data showed output in the dominant services sector was a bit weaker than expected, growing by 6.1 per cent in July against expectations for growth of 7.0 per cent.
Growth in the much smaller manufacturing and construction sectors exceeded forecasts.