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The Office for National Statistics says GDP up by 0.8 per cent
THE UK economy has grown faster than expected, a new report has revealed.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) says gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 0.8 per cent in the third quarter.
Bosses say the figure means GDP is closer to its pre-recession peak levels.
They said the UK is two per cent off its 2008 pre-crisis level, better than the anticipated 2.5 per cent, fuelling hopes of an end to the prolonged economic downturn.
The report also said revisions to third quarter performance of the economy showed the construction sector, buoyed by Government initiatives such as Help To Buy, had grown by 2.6 per cent, revised up from 1.7 per cent.
The services sector also expanded, by 0.8 per cent, though the report said the manufacturing industry was revised down by 0.1 per cent to 0.8 per cent growth.
The results come after North-East business leaders earlier this year warned the Government must do more to support regional companies and build on the fastest UK economic output growth for three years.
Ross Smith, North East Chamber of Commerce director of policy, previously told The Northern Echo: “The economy has lost so much ground since 2008, and unemployment still far too high in the North-East.
“We need to see a very strong focus from Government on creating the conditions for sustained growth.”
However, according to the ONS' figures, there are still a number of concerns over the UK's economic recovery.
It said the country's account deficit with the rest of the world in the third quarter increased to £20.7bn, or 5.2 per cent of GDP, the highest percentage level for 24 years, with UK earnings on foreign investments falling.
It also said household spending in the third quarter had risen 2.5 per cent higher than a year ago, the highest comparable growth since the first quarter of 2008, with public sector borrowing, excluding the effect of bank bailouts, standing at £16.5bn in November, up £900m on the same month last year.
Stephen Gifford, director of economics at CBI, the employers' organisation, said while the figures were encouraging, more work was still needed.
He said: “These results confirm the robust pace of growth in the third quarter and support businesses’ view that the UK economic recovery is back on track.
“However, there are still hurdles to overcome before growth returns to a sustainable level, and we need to see an even stronger pick up in investment and exports.”
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