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UK economy suffers 'notable slowdown' in first half of 2017 - ONS

UK economy suffers 'notable slowdown' in first half of 2017 - ONS

Emilio Casalicchio

2 min read

The UK economy suffered a “notable slowdown” in the first half of 2017, with growth reaching just 0.3% between April and June, it has been revealed.

The manufacturing and construction sectors “acted as a drag” on gross domestic product, while catering helped boost it up from 0.2% the quarter before, the Office for National Statistics said.

It added that in the first full year since the EU referendum the British economy grew by 1.7% and was developing at a rate comparable to other major economies.

ONS head of national accounts Darren Morgan said: “The economy has experienced a notable slowdown in the first half of this year.

“While services such as retail, and film production and distribution showed some improvement in the second quarter, a weaker performance from construction and manufacturing pulled down overall growth.”

But the ONS noted that GDP growth and manufacturing output had done better in the wake of the EU referendum than some forecasters predicted.

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said it had been the weakest first half of any year since 2012.

“Today’s GDP figures reveal weak growth under a weak government, and expose the last seven years of Tory economic failure,” he added.

“Growth for the first half of 2017 is below expectations, and it follows continued data showing working families are being squeezed with wages not keeping up with prices.

“The truth is that the Tories’ austerity cuts have undermined working people’s living standards and weakened the UK economy.”

Chancellor Philip Hammond responded: “Our economy has grown continuously for four and a half years, delivering record levels of employment. We can be proud of that; but we are not complacent.

“We need to focus on restoring productivity growth to deliver higher wages and living standards for people across the country.

“That is why we are committed to investing in infrastructure, technology and skills to deliver the best possible base for strong future growth.”

It comes after the International Monetary Fund predicted UK growth would be weaker this year than initially forecast.

The body downgraded the UK’s projected growth from its April estimate of 2% to 1.7%, while the figure for 2018 remains at 1.5%.

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