Concerns grow over economic prospects

The strength of the UK economy as it enters the age of austerity was cast into doubt with official figures that downgraded growth for the first nine months of the year.

Gross domestic product growth for each of the first three quarters in 2010 was revised down by 0.1 per cent, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said yesterday.

The third quarter – between July and September – saw growth of 0.7 per cent, down from 0.8 per cent, while second quarter figures were revised down to 1.1 per cent from 1.2 per cent.

The first quarter saw growth of 0.3 per cent, down from 0.4 per cent.

Economists said the figures did little to improve prospects for the economy next year – and its ability to withstand the Government's deficit-busting spending cuts.

In the third quarter, there were further downward revisions to production industries and business services and finance.