UK economy flatlined in run-up to Brexit following slump in manufacturing
Britain's economy flatlined in the run-up to Brexit thanks to a fall in manufacturing, official figures have revealed.
Data released by the Office for National Statistics showed that GDP grew by zero per cent in the final three months of 2019.
In the same period 12 months ago, the UK economy grew by 1.1%.
The slump in the final quarter of last year is largely down to a 1.1% fall in manufacturing output.
There were positive signs in the construction industry, with a 0.5% increase in output, but the UK’s powerful services industry grew by just 0.1%.
Rob Kent-Smith from the ONS said: “There was no growth in the last quarter of 2019 as increases in the services and construction sectors were offset by another poor showing from manufacturing, particularly the motor industry.
“The underlying trade deficit widened, as exports of services fell, partially offset by a fall in goods imports.”
Bizarrely, Chancellor Sajid Javid made no reference at all to the GDP figures in a statement issued on the back of the ONS data.
"We’ve broken the deadlock and left the EU – now we need to seize this moment to level up and prepare our great nation for long-term success," he said.
"In my Budget, exactly one month from today, I’ll set out how we will move forward, with more ambition and new thinking, and empower our people and businesses so everyone has the opportunity to thrive."
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said: “With production tumbling over 2019 at its worst rate since 2012, it is clear that the Tories’ combination of cruel cuts and economic mismanagement has sent the economy into freefall.
“The Tories lack any vision or plan for the economy, and the upcoming Budget risks another decade of disappointment.”