Cold weather consisting of snow and freezing temperatures caused widespread disruption across the UK. Travel routes were severely affected including roads and railways, in addition to Luton and Birmingham airports respectively. The weather also lead to the closure of many schools which were due to return after the Christmas break.
The cold weather affecting the UK continued to cause widespread disruption across the country. The continued freezing temperatures lead to millions of people becoming eligible for cold weather payments from the government.
The closure of Woolworths was completed across the UK, having started at the end of December, and spelled an end to 100 years of the retail chain. The company was placed into administration in November 2008, with its 813 stores gradually being phased out. More than 27,000 jobs have been lost as a result of the company's collapse.
Marks and Spencers announced they were to close 25 of their Simply Food stores and cut 1,230 jobs, after they announce pre-Christmas like-for-like sales fell by 7.1%.
England Cricket Captain, Kevin Pietersen resigned after months of rows with England Manager, Peter Moores. Moores was sacked from his job by the England and Wales Cricket Board. Andrew Strauss is named as the new Captain.
There was more bad news for the economy as new car sales for 2008 were reported to have fallen to a 12-year low of just over 2,100,000.
8 January – The Bank of England cut its base interest rate to 1.5% amid the global economic downturn, the lowest it has been in the bank's 300-year history.
The News of the World reported that HRHPrince Harry had been filmed using racist language towards a Pakistani member of his army platoon. Prince Harry swiftly apologised amid widespread condemnation.
17 January – A British Soldier from 1st Battalion The Rifles, later named as Corporal Richard Robinson, was killed by enemy fire in southern Afghanistan. It took the total number of British forces to die in the conflict to 142.
The government announced further assistance for the banking sector, the second of the current financial crisis. Measures announced include the government insuring bad debts and increasing its stake in Royal Bank of Scotland. The measures made little impact on the stock market, with banking stocks falling across the board.
The Royal Bank of Scotland announced it expects to have to write down assets totalling around £20 billion, believed to be the biggest lose in British corporate history. The announcement saw RBS' share price plunge 67% on the day.
21 January – Statistics released by the Office for National Statistics showed that the number of unemployed people in the UK had risen to more than 1,900,000, the highest level since late 1996.
22 January – The Disasters Emergency Committee launched its Gaza Crisis Appeal following the recent conflict in the region. The BBC caused controversy by saying it will not be broadcasting the appeal as it would compromise its impartiality.
The Office for National Statistics announced that the United Kingdom's economy is officially in recession for the first time since 1991. The economy has now suffered three successive quarters of conraction, with the final quarter of last year seeing the economy shrink by 1.8% – one of the worst quarterly detractions since records began.
Karen Matthews and Michael Donavon were sentenced to eight years in prison for the kidnap of Shannon Matthews, the former's daughter, having held her captive in Donvon's flat in Dewsbury last year as part of a bid to claim £50,000 for her "safe return" after reporting her missing to the police.
Hundreds of workers went on strike at the Lindsay Oil Refinery in Lincolnshire in protest at the hiring of foreign construction workers at the site, despite rising unemployment in the UK.
Anti Posted Workers Directive strikes – Workers at around a dozen energy sites across the UK walked out in support of the workers at the Lindsey refinery, who walked out two days ago over the hiring of foreign workers.
A British Soldier from 1st Battalion The Rifles, later named as Corporal Daniel Nield, was killed in a firefight in Southern Afghanistan. It took the total number of British forces to die in the conflict to 143.
Many roads were blocked in the morning rush hour, whilst train services were disrupted and many airport runways closed. Transport for London suspended all London Buses and the London Underground was also severely disrupted.
Meanwhile, hundreds of schools were forced to close due to the adverse weather conditions.
Four people, including two teenage air cadets, were killed in a mid-air collision between two light aircraft over the Welsh coast.
12 February – A British soldier serving in Iraq, later named as Private Ryan Wrathall, died in what the Ministry of Defence described as a 'shooting incident'. It took the total number of British forces to die in the conflict to 179, and marked the first British death in Iraq in 2009.
14 February – A Royal Marine from 45 Commando, later named by the Ministry of Defence as Marine Darren Smith, was killed by enemy gunfire in Southern Afghanistan. It took the total number of British forces to die in the conflict to 144.
16 February – A British soldier from 1st Battalion The Rifles, later named as Lance Corporal Stephen Kingscott, was killed by enemy fire in Southern Afghanistan. It increased the total number of British forces to die in the conflict to 145.
Official figures showed that the UK's CPI, the official measure of inflation, had fallen by 0.1% in January to 3.1%. The alternative measure of inflation, the Retail Prices Index, fell by 0.8% to 0.1% in the same monthly period.
Amid growing public and political pressure, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling, announced a reduction in the payment of bonuses to senior staff at RBS and that these reduced bonuses would be paid in shares, rather than cash.
TV personality, Jade Goody and her boyfriend, Jack Tweed, are married at Down Hall, Essex. Goody, 27, has been suffering from cervical cancer for six months and was told earlier this month that she may only have weeks to live after the cancer spread to her bowel, liver and groin. Tweed is free on license following imprisonment for assault.
Three British soldiers from 1st Battalion The Rifles, later named as Corporal Tom Gaden, Lance Corporal Paul Upton and Rifleman Jamie Gunn, are killed in an explosion in Southern Afghanistan. In a separate incident, a Royal Marine from 45 Commando, Signaller Michael Laski, dies in a British hospital after sustaining injuries in the Aghan conflict on Monday 23 February. The four deaths take the total number of British forces to die in the Afghan conflict to 149.
The Royal Bank of Scotland, as expected, announces annual losses totalling £24.1 billion, the biggest loss in British corporate history. It is also confirmed that the bank is to receive a further £13 billion from the government in return for an increased stake in the company.
Alongside the announcement of its results, the Royal Bank of Scotland Group announces that its former chief executive, Fred Goodwin, is to receive a £693,000-a-year pension for life. The announcement leads to widespread condemnation, whilst the government threaten legal action to claw back the payments.
27 February – Lloyds Banking Group announces that their HBOS subsidiary made annual losses of £10.8 billion in 2008. The Lloyds TSB division of the group made a profit of £807 million, down 80% on 2007.
28 February – The Government launches an inquiry into a Fred Goodwin's pension and massive losses by HBOS in 2008.
13 March – Comic Relief 2009 raises a record total in excess of £57 million at the climax of their telethon, surpassing the amount raised during the 2007 telethon by over £17 million.
14 March – A British soldier from Royal Welsh Regiment, 2nd Battalion, later named as Lance Corporal Christopher Harkett, is killed in an explosion in Southern Afghanistan. It takes the total number of British forces to die in the conflict to 150.
The Office for National Statistics announce that UK unemployment rose to 2.03 million in the three months to January. It takes unemployment above 2,000,000 for the first time since 1997.
Sean Hodgson, who has served 27 years in prison since being convicted of murder in 1982, is acquitted at the Court of Appeal in London.
22 March – Jade Goody, the reality TV star, dies at her home in Essex after a seven-month battle against cancer.
24 March – The Consumer Price Index, the government's preferred measure of inflation, unexpectedly rises to 3.2% in February, a rise of 0.2% on the previous month. The alternative measure of inflation, the Retail Prices Index falls to 0.0% for the first time in nearly 50 years.
27 March – Official figures confirm that the United Kingdom is still in recession, with the economy shrinking by 1.6% in the final quarter of 2008 compared to the third quarter.
Alistair Darling, the Chancellor of the Exchequer delivers the government's budget to the House of Commons. It includes the introduction of a 50% tax rate for those earning in excess of £150,000 and the announcement that Britain's debt level will rise to 79% of GDP by 2013.
Figures show unemployment has now risen to more than 2,100,000, the highest level seen under the current government.
27 April – 2009 H1N1 flu outbreak: The outbreak of Swine Flu originating in Mexico spreads to the UK, with 2 cases confirmed in Scotland.
The British Military's operation in Iraq officially ends after six years of combat. The Basra Province is handed over to American forces in a special ceremony, ahead of the withdrawal of British troops in the summer.
30 May – Chelsea win the FA Cup for the fifth time after beating Everton 2–1 in the final at Wembley Stadium. Everton French striker Louis Saha scores the fastest ever FA Cup FInal goal, after 23 seconds
The Big Top 40 Show is the first real-time chart show ever to be broadcast in the United Kingdom, consisting of downloads and airplay. The show is broadcast on 142 stations – the largest number of stations that a radio show is broadcast on in the UK.
Harry Patch, the last British Army veteran of World War I, who died on 25 July aged 111.
Henry Allingham, the oldest man in the world and one of the last surviving veterans of World War I, who died on 18 July aged 113.
1 July –
Two British soldiers are killed in an explosion in Afghanistan. It is later confirmed that one of the casualties was Lieutenant Colonel Rupert Thorneloe, the most senior ranking officer to be killed in action since Colonel H. Jones during the Fallands campaign.
15 July – Unemployment figures show the jobless total in Britain now stands at 2,380,000, a level not seen since 1995.
16 July – ITV announces that its news and information Teletext service will be discontinued within the next six months as a result of mounting losses and the inability to find a viable business model to continue.
23 July – The Government launches the National Pandemic Flu Service across England, a website and phoneline allowing people who think they have the H1N1 virus to bypass the NHS to obtain antiviral drugs. The website crashes within hours of its launch due to the overwhelming demand.
25 July – Harry Patch, the last British survivor of the First World War trenches and briefly the oldest man in the United Kingdom, dies at the age of 111.Claude Choules, a 108-year-old former Royal Navy serviceman who was born in Worcestershire but now lives in Australia, is the last surviving British veteran of the war and one of just three surviving of any nationality.
15 August – The number of British Forces personnel killed in Afghanistan since operations began in 2001 reaches 200 after the Ministry of Defence announces the death of a trooper who had been wounded in a roadside attack two days earlier.
6 October – Shadow Chancellor George Osborne unveils plans for cutting national debt if the Conservatives win the forthcoming general election. These include increasing the retirement age for men to 66 from 2016, a decade sooner than planned by the current Labour government, as well as increasing the retirement age for women to 65 by 2020.
8 October – Postal workers vote three to one in favour of taking strike action over job security and working conditions.
12 October –
The government announces a £16bn assets sale in an attempt to raise funds to reduce the budget deficit. The Dartford Crossing and the state-owned bookmaker The Tote will be included in the sale.
The independent audit of MPs expenses chaired by Sir Thomas Legg is completed. Among those who must repay claimed expenses is Prime Minister Gordon Brown who claimed £12,415 for cleaning and gardening costs.
Reports state that United Kingdom has the worst quality of life in Europe, due to long hours, bad weather, low life expectancy and the high price of many consumer goods (as a result of the recession).
16 October – A bomb detonates under the car belonging to a Police officer's wife in the large Unionist area of East Belfast. The woman was taken to hospital with minor injuries as the bomb was set to go off in the passenger side where her husband usually sits but was not present that day. The Real IRA later claim responsibility
20 October – The latest MORI poll shows Conservative support at 43% – 17 points ahead of Labour. This showing, if translated into votes at an election, would see the Tories form the next government.
25 October – It is reported that the Crown Office of Scotland has emailed relatives of British victims of the Lockerbie Disaster to inform them that a police review of the case has started now that "appeal proceedings" have ended.
Five British soldiers are shot dead in Afghanistan's Helmand Province while mentoring and training Afghan police. Six other British servicemen and two Aghan police are also injured in the attack which the UK military blames on a "rogue" policeman.
General Motors, the owner of British carmaker Vauxhall and its continental Opel partner, makes a surprise decision not to sell the carmaker to Canadian organisation Magna.
14 November – Severe gales and heavy rain from an Alantic storm cause floods and damage across southern England and Wales.
19 November – Highest ever UK 24-hour rainfall total, 314.4 mm, recorded at Seathwaite Farm, Cumbria – a record which stands until December 2015.
20 November – Many towns and villages in Cumbria and Dumfries and Galloway are flooded following several days of heavy rain. Three bridges collapse, one of them leading to the death of a police officer, who was standing on the bridge when it collapsed.
22 November – The latest MORI poll shows that the Conservatives are just six points ahead of Labour, their narrowest lead for two years, with 37% of the vote, which, if translated into election results, would force a hung parliament. Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrats, has suggested his party would support the Tories if the election resulted in no overall majority.
1 to 30 November – With an average nationwide precipitation of 215.7 millimetres or 8.49 inches, this is the wettest calendar month over the United Kingdom as a whole since reliable records begin in 1910.
14 December – Cabin crew at British Airways vote overwhelmingly in favour of a planned 12 days of strike action over Christmas and the New Year in a dispute over job cuts and changes to staff contracts. On 17 December the High Court rules that Unite, the representing trade union, had not correctly balloted its members on the strike action, meaning that the strikes could not go ahead.
The latest unemployment figures show that UK unemployment is slowing, but now stands at the highest figure for 15 years – almost 2.5 million, equating to 8% of the workforce. The number of people claiming unemployment benefit, however, fell to 1.63 million in October, the first fall for nearly two years. Youth unemployment has increased to 952,000 – the highest level since records began 17 years ago.
ITV closes its news and information service on Teletext, leaving the ITV channel(s) without such a service for the first time in 35 years.
More than 80% of the UK population (some 50 million people) now has internet access.
New car sales drop to just under 2 million after exceeding 2.5 million last year, although the recession's affect on new car sales is eased by the scrappage scheme. The Ford Fiesta is Britain's best selling car, while the new version of the MINI (produced by BMW) is Britain's seventh best selling car with almost 40,000 sales. The new Vauxhall Insignia is Britain's ninth best selling car, while carmakers including Kia and Hyundai buck the trend of falling new car sales by increasing their market share largely due to the popularity of their cars with buyers taking advantage of the scrappage scheme.