Return to growth underlined

Have your say

THE UK’s return to growth was underlined today as revised figures confirmed the dominant services sector helped the economy expand by 0.3% in the first three months of the year.

Services shook off the freezing start to the year, with a recovery from hotels and restaurants helping the sector grow by 0.6% in the first quarter, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said today.

An even stronger resurgence in North Sea oil and gas production also helped offset another dire quarter from Britain’s building sites and more weakness in the manufacturing sector, helping the UK avoid a feared triple-dip recession.

Confirmation of a return to growth - after the economy shrank by 0.3% in the final quarter of 2012 - will add to Chancellor George Osborne’s optimism that the economy is “healing”.

Labour Treasury spokesman Chris Leslie said: “These unrevised figures confirm that our flat-lining economy is simply back to where it was six months ago.

“This is now the slowest recovery for over 100 years with just 1.1% growth since the 2010 spending review compared to the 6% forecast at the time. On jobs, growth, living standards and the deficit this Government’s economic policies have badly failed.”