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UK economy slows

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British Chancellor George Osborne
British Chancellor George Osborne
British Chancellor George Osborne

The rate of economic growth halved in the three months to the end of March, official figures show, marking the slowest quarterly growth for two years.

The UK economy grew by 0.3% in the quarter, the office for national statistics said.

That compares with 0.6% in the last three months of 2014 reported BBC.

The figures, which come nine days before the general election, suggest a “temporary” slowdown in the economy, analysts said.

The ONS said the economy was 2.4% larger than the same period a year earlier.

Growth of 0.5% in the services industry was offset by a 1.6% fall in the pace of economic output in construction.

The UK services sector accounts for around three quarters of economic growth, with construction, manufacturing and production accounting for the remaining quarter.

The Chancellor, George Osborne, said: “It’s good news that the economy has continued to grow, but we have reached a critical moment. Today is a reminder that you can’t take the recovery for granted and the future of our economy is on the ballot paper at this election.”

But Labour’s shadow chancellor, Ed Balls, said: “While the Tories have spent months patting themselves on the back these figures show they have not fixed the economy for working families.”

Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander, said the figures were still progress but a warning too.

He added it was vital his party were part of the next government to ensure the “fair and balanced approach needed to secure this recovery”.