[QODLink]
Business
UK economy in surprise contraction
The British economy shrank by 0.5 per cent in the last quarter of 2010, raising concerns of a double-dip recession.
Last Modified: 25 Jan 2011 12:09 GMT
Severe winter weather, which caused havoc across the country, was the main contributor to the contraction [Reuters]

Britain's economy shrank by 0.5 per cent in the last quarter of 2010, figures reveal, raising fears of a double-dip recession.

The Office for National Statistics said December's severe winter weather was largely to blame for the surprising figures, which show the first contraction of growth since the third quarter of 2009.

"The disruption caused by the bad weather in December is likely to have contributed to most of the 0.5 per cent decline, that is, if there had been no disruption, GDP would be showing a flattish picture rather than declining," it said in a statement.

Analysts had previously been expecting modest growth of 0.4 per cent for that quarter.

The figure is likely to spark concerns over the strength of the British economy as the coalition government brings in a raft of austerity measures aimed at curbing the country's national deficit.

The measures include dramatic cuts to public services including hundreds of thousands of public sector job losses.

George Osborne, the country's finance minister, said the figures were "disappointing" but that the country would "not be blown off course by bad weather".

``It's notable that sectors of the economy that are less affected by the poor weather, such as manufacturing, continue to perform strongly, helping to rebalance our economy," he said,

Northern Europe was badly affected by severe snow and ice last month, causing major air, road and rail disruption.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
The world's newest professional sport comes from an unlikely source: video games.
The group's takeover of farms in Qaraqosh, 30km from Mosul, has caused fear among residents, and a jump in food prices.
Protests and online activism in recent months have brought a resurgence of ethnic Oromo nationalism in Ethiopia.
Chemotherapy is big business, but some US doctors say it could be overused and are pushing for cheaper and better care.
Amid vote audit and horse-trading, politicians of all hues agree a compromise is needed to avoid political instability.
join our mailing list