UK no longer in recession after economy grows 0.6% in last quarter


The UK economy has escaped recession after it grew by 0.6 per cent between January and March, according to the Office for National Statistics.

It rebounded with faster-than-expected growth after a consensus of economists had previously predicted a 0.4 per cent improvement.

It comes after two quarters of decline – which represents a technical recession – in the back half of 2023.

Responding to the GDP figures, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said: “There is no doubt it has been a difficult few years, but today’s growth figures are proof that the economy is returning to full health for the first time since the pandemic.

Jeremy Hunt is reportedly hosting a summit (James Manning/PA) (PA Wire)

“We’re growing this year and have the best outlook among European G7 countries over the next six years, with wages growing faster than inflation, energy prices falling and tax cuts worth £900 to the average worker hitting bank accounts.”

The performance was particularly driven by improvements in the services and production sectors, which grew by 0.7% and 0.8% respectively.

On Friday, the ONS confirmed the quarterly performance after 0.4% economic growth in March, again boosted by the UK’s service industry.

There was notable growth for the human health and social services sector, administrative and support services, as well as for wholesale and retail firms.

Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves said it was no time for the Tories to be doing a ‘victory lap’ (Jordan Pettitt/PA) (PA Wire)

Construction output, however, fell during the month, but its 0.4% drop represented a significant reduction in decline after a 2% fall in February.

ONS director of economic statistics Liz McKeown said: “After two quarters of contraction, the UK economy returned to positive growth in the first three months of this year.

“There was broad-based strength across the service industries with retail, public transport and haulage, and health all performing well.

“Car manufacturers also had a good quarter. These were only a little offset by another weak quarter for construction.”

Labour’s shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said: “This is no time for Conservative ministers to be doing a victory lap and telling the British people that they have never had it so good.

“The economy is still £300 smaller per person than when Rishi Sunak became Prime Minister.”



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