28 Jan 2015
The UK economy grew by 2.6% in 2014, but experienced a slowdown in the final quarter of the year, according to the latest report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
In its preliminary estimate of GDP for the fourth quarter of 2014, the ONS suggests that GDP increased by 0.5% in the fourth quarter of 2014, compared with growth of 0.7% in the third quarter.
The economic growth figure of 2.6% for 2014 represents the fastest pace of growth in the UK since 2007, and would place the UK among the top economic performers for 2014.
However, some experts have expressed concerns over the significance and likely duration of the apparent slowdown in Q4.
Commenting on the findings, ONS chief economist Joe Grice, said, ‘The dominant services sector remains buoyant while the contraction has taken place in industries like construction, mining and energy supply, which can be erratic’.
Chancellor George Osborne argued that the figures demonstrated that the UK economy remains on track, but he also sought to highlight the importance of sticking to the Government’s economic plan in the face of ongoing challenges to the global economy.
Meanwhile, Rain Newton-Smith, director for economics at the Confederation of British Industry, said, ‘These figures confirm that growth slowed slightly compared with the previous quarter. Service sector growth remains robust, but manufacturing continues to struggle with weaker export orders, and construction output has fallen in the last three months.
‘The UK should benefit from the fillip that quantitative easing will provide to the Eurozone. However, this needs to go hand-in-hand with structural reforms, like making France’s labour market more flexible and greater infrastructure investment in Germany.’