27 APR 2011
Britain is “teetering on the edge of a double dip recession” after official GDP numbers confirmed that the economy has stagnated for the past six months.
By Philip Aldrick | The Telegraph
GDP growth in the first three months of the year was 0.5pc, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed, but the figure merely offsets the 0.5pc contraction in the final quarter of 2010.
“Excluding the impact of the snow in December, the preliminary GDP figures suggest that the economy has flatlined over the past six months, with no underlying growth in output since the third quarter,” John Hawksworth, chief economist at PricewaterhouseCoopers, said.
“The figures show that the UK is still teetering on the edge of a double dip recession.”
The ONS confirmed that the 0.5pc contraction in the final three months last year was entirely weather-related, following December’s severe snow. It has also explained that “in the absence of abnormally poor weather, activity would have returned to its normal level ... [which] would result in observed growth of 0.5pc [in the first quarter of 2011]”.
As a result, growth in both the final quarter of 2010 and the first quarter of 2011 was effectively zero. The index value of the UK’s total economic output is back at the same level as in the third quarter of last year, at 99.6 – well below it’s peak of 103.8 in the first quarter of 2008, meaning the economy is still 4.2pc smaller than its pre-recession level.
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