UK Economic Growth Slowest Since 2012

February 18, 2019 / News & General

The UK economy saw its slowest annual growth for six years in December, according to data from 2018.

Last year’s growth was 1.4%, down from 1.8% and the slowest rate since 2012, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

The ONS blamed a fall in factory output and car production, though it does state that other factors were at play too.

Quarterly growth stalled too, falling to 0.2% in the three months to December, a drop from 0.6% in the three months to September.

This news hasn’t come as a complete surprise, with economists predicting that growth will be even slower in 2019 due to Brexit uncertainty and a weaker global economy.

However, as BBC economic correspondent Andy Verity said: “The economy has hit the brakes harder than economists thought it would.

“Growth over the quarter was weaker than the 0.3% anticipated. And over the month the numbers look positively worrying.”

Chancellor Philip Hammond said that the data shows the economy remains “fundamentally strong”.

Head of GDP at the ONS Rob Kent-Smith said: “GDP slowed in the last three months of the year with the manufacturing of cars and steel products seeing steep falls and construction also declining.

“However, services continued to grow with the health sector, management consultants and IT all doing well.”

John Bell, Clarke Bell’s senior partner, commented:

“I am not surprised to see that economic growth has slowed down. There is so much uncertainty around that business owners and individuals cannot be confident in making serious, long-term decisions.

The whole country is crying out for certainty. Hopefully the doubts surrounding Brexit will soon be sorted out, one way or another. In the meantime, a lot of companies are going to find that things remain tough and they will need to keep tightening their belts in order to survive and prosper.”