Written by: Keith Tully
Published: 29th April 2015
The rate of growth within the UK economy slowed to 0.3 per cent in the first three months of 2015, as compared with the 0.6 per cent recorded in the final quarter of 2014.
According to official figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), a sharp dip of 1.6 per cent in construction sector output in the first quarter of the year held back overall GDP growth in the period.
The services sector of the economy grew at a rate of 0.5 per cent between January and the end of March 2015 but the headline growth rate of 0.3 per cent was the slowest GDP expansion recorded for a single quarter in two years.
However, the ONS also points out that the UK economy was 2.4 per cent more productive overall at the end of March this year than it was at the same point in 2014.
With the upcoming general election dominating the political agenda, Chancellor George Osborne told the BBC: “It’s good news that the economy has continued to grow, but we have reached a critical moment. Today is a reminder that you can't take the recovery for granted and the future of our economy is on the ballot paper at this election.”
Labour’s economic spokesperson Ed Balls said: “While the Tories have spent months patting themselves on the back these figures show they have not fixed the economy for working families.”
Meanwhile, Scotland’s finance minister and the Scottish National Party’s finance spokesperson John Swinney took the slowed economic growth figures as a clear sign of the need for “greater investment in the economy”.
“The lesson I take from that is that we have a chance in the election next Thursday to start to invest again in our economy by ending the austerity and spending cuts of the UK government,” he said.
According to the latest ONS figures, the service sector is currently the primary driver of growth within the UK economy, with it accounting for roughly 75 per cent of all the GDP expansion recorded for the first three months of this year.