The ONS has published the preliminary estimates for GDP for the fourth quarter of 2011.
Commenting, David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:
“The first estimates for growth in the fourth quarter of 2011 are disappointing, and worse than many anticipated. However, it is important to bear in mind that preliminary numbers are often revised. Recent surveys (including our own Quarterly Economic Survey) showed a slightly better performance and the latest figures for public finances and retail sales were better than expected.
“The UK economy is facing difficult challenges, but there is no need for undue pessimism. The latest forecast published by the IMF showed a downward revision from other estimates. But it also predicts that the UK economy will outperform not just the Eurozone as a block, but major economies such as Germany and France.
“The government must persevere with its important job of cutting the deficit. But the Q4 GDP figures reinforce the need to reallocate priorities within the overall spending envelope to growth-enhancing policies. Reducing red tape, cancelling the planned increase in business rates, providing more support for exporters, and implementing an effective credit-easing programme as soon as possible, will help businesses to grow.”