The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that that the UK economy grew by 0.4% in the first three months of 2015, up from a previous estimate of 0.3%.
On an annual basis, the economy grew by 2.9% from the first quarter of 2014, compared with an earlier estimate of 2.4%. ONS figures also suggested that household disposable income grew at the fastest rate since 2001 – up by 4.5% in a year-on-year comparison.
For 2014 as a whole, economic growth was revised up to 3% from 2.8% – the fastest rate of economic growth for eight years.
The revision upwards has been attributed to improved measurements concerning the construction industry. ONS chief economist Joe Grice said: ‘The slight upward revision to growth in the first quarter of 2015 is down largely to the recently announced new methods to measure construction output’.
Separate figures show that the UK’s current deficit has gone down from £28.93bn in the final quarter of 2014 to £26.55bn in the first three months of the year, equivalent to 5.8% of GDP.
However, commentators have claimed that this deficit is still worryingly high. John Longworth, director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said that the deficit was: ‘as big of a risk to the UK’s future prosperity as the eurozone crisis or other international shocks’.
He added: ‘The size and persistence of the UK’s current account deficit make us hugely vulnerable to external shocks, unexpected shifts in market sentiment, and unwelcome downgrades to our credit rating’.