According to preliminary estimates, the UK's economic recovery slowed consistently in the first quarter of the year with GDP growth of 0.3%.
The quarterly figure from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) is considerably weaker than what economists had predicted and has hit the weakest point since last 2012 quarter. The annual rate of GDP growth slowed to 2.4% from the 2.8% measured in the final quarter of 2014.
The statistics showed that the economy is still under pressure in main business areas including construction, where output has sharply fallen to 1.6% for the second consecutive quarter.
Ms Lee Hopley, chief economist at EEF, affirmed: “Today’s data is disappointing, but unsurprising, with the UK moving from being one of the fastest growing developed economies to posting the weakest rate of expansion in over two years.”
She added: “Given that we’d already seen signs of weakening output earlier this year, the maths were always going to point a slowdown. Nevertheless, manufacturing has held up with the sector now seeing eight quarters of growth. And with surveys suggesting industry sentiment is looking reasonably firm the sector should continue to contribute to growth in the months ahead.”
The growth data have been published just 9 days before the election and account for the biggest update on British economy before the opening of the polls. Accordingly, the sterling has fallen behind against the dollar and the euro.