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UK avoids recession but records slowest growth in nearly a decade, figures show

2 min read

The UK has avoided a recession after the economy grew by 0.3% in 2019’s third quarter, new figures show.

The figures will come as a relief to Conservative ministers following -0.2% growth in the last quarter, ahead of next month's general election.

They also show however that year-on-year GDP growth slowed to 1%, its weakest since 2010, in the three months to the end of September.

An ONS spokesperson said: “GDP grew steadily in the third quarter, mainly thanks to a strong July. Services again led the way with construction also performing well.

"Manufacturing failed to grow as falls in most industries were offset by car production bouncing back following April shutdowns.

“Looking at the picture over the last year, growth slowed to its lowest rate in almost a decade. 

“The underlying trade deficit narrowed, mainly due to growing exports of both goods and services.”

In a monthly breakdown, GDP was strongest at 0.3% in July, but it fell by 0.2% and 0.1% in August and September respectively. 

Predictions by the Bank of England and National Institute of Economic and Social Research ahead of the publication forecast growth of 0.4% and 0.5% for the quarter.

Chancellor Sajid Javid tweeted: “Great to see solid Q3 growth - another welcome sign fundamentals of UK economy are strong. 

“Biggest risk to our economy is Corbyn’s Labour - its plans for *two* referendums in 2020 and out of control debt.”

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said: “Over the last year, growth slowed to its lowest rate in almost a decade.

"The fact that the Government will be celebrating 0.1% growth in the last six months is a sign of how low their hopes and expectations for our economy are.

"Labour will build a high-wage, high-skill economy by investing for growth in every region and nation of the UK."

But Lib Dem deputy leader Ed Davey said Monday’s numbers were “anything but a cause for celebration”.

“Over the last year, Britain's growth has slowed to its lowest rate in almost a decade - a disastrous performance by the Conservatives, whose main economic policy of Brexit is a promise of yet more slow growth.

"The economy under the Tories is anaemic. Brexit has already cost us at least £55 billion in lost growth and will keep us underperforming for years.”

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