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UK growth figure left at 0.5%

The UK economy grew at 0.5 per cent during the first quarter of the year, the government’s final figures confirm.

Data published by the Office for National Statistics today is unrevised from the previous estimate.

The ONS revised down output in the manufacturing sector by 0.1 per cent, but this was offset by the fall in construction output being amended from 4 per cent to 3.4 per cent.

Howard Archer, the chief European and UK economist at IHS Global Insight, comments: “The UK economy is struggling to generate decent, sustained growth and this is likely to remain the case going forward as the fiscal tightening increasingly bites.”

Andrew Goodwin, a senior economist at Oxford Economics, adds that he is “deeply suspicious” about the accuracy of the 0.5 per cent figure, although he is not surprised to see the data remain unrevised today.

“We think it likely that any revisions will come further down the line, possibly when the [detailed national product] Blue Book balancing takes place,” he explains.

“It is unlikely that the ONS will have much new information at this stage, so are unlikely to see any upward revision just yet.”

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