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ONS: Recession less deep and recovery stronger than previously thought

The UK economic recession was less deep and recovery quicker than previously estimated, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Changes in the way GDP figures are calculated have led the ONS to revise growth between 1998 and 2012. The new method includes changes to how data is collected and dealt with. The new measure also includes household spending on illegal activities like prostitution and drugs.

The new figures show the economy shrank by 4.6 per cent between 2007 and 2009, compared to a previous estimate of 5.9 per cent.

They also show GDP grew by 4.2 per cent between 2010 and 2012, compared with the previous estimate of 3.1 per cent.

ONS chief economist Joe Grice says the figures do not represent a significant change in the “broad picture of the economy”.

He says: “Although the downturn was less deep than previously estimated and subsequent growth stronger, it remains the case that the UK experienced the deepest recession since ONS records began in 1948 and the subsequent recovery has been unusually slow.

“Over the period 1998-2012, the overall size of revisions remains small at an average of 0.1 percentage points per year.”

Some of the improvement in GDP between 2003 and 2008 is down to a change in the way payouts from funded defined benefit pension schemes are measured.

The ONS says: “As a result, households’ financial balances are improved substantially over this period, with a particularly positive impact between 2003 and 2008.”

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