Recession deeper than expected

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GDP shrank more than expected between October and December last year, new figures show // GDP shrank more than expected between October and December last year, new figures show
GDP shrank more than expected between October and December last year, new figures show
The double-dip recession is deeper than originally feared as revised figures have shown a sharper decline in the economy in the final quarter of last year.
Gross domestic product (GDP) shrank by 0.4% between October and December, compared with a previous estimate of 0.3%, while the economy contracted by an unchanged 0.3% in the first quarter of this year, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.
The figures mean the current recession - defined as two or more quarters of declining GDP in a row - is more severe than first thought. The impact of the weak economy was underlined by household spending figures, which showed expenditure falling by 0.1% compared with a previous estimate of 0.1% growth.
The downward revision will heap more pressure on the Government and fuel criticism that Chancellor George Osborne's austerity measures are choking off the recovery.
And in a further sign that the Chancellor's deficit-busting plans are struggling, Government spending grew at its fastest rate in nearly seven years between January and March, the ONS said. The 1.9% surge in Government expenditure was driven by higher spending on public administration, health and defence.
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "Today's figures lay bare the damage caused by the Government's austerity programme. The Chancellor has steered the UK back into a double-dip recession for the first time in 40 years, with falling living standards continuing to depress consumer spending.
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