IT’S official – we have avoided a triple-dip recession.

Despite unseasonably bad weather, a widening trade deficit and a new raft of austerity measures, Britain’s economy actually grew by 0.3 per cent in the first three months of the year, much better than the 0.1 per cent that most people were predicting.

So where’s the party? Despite a monumental build-up, the announcement was not exactly met with celebrations.

Even George Osborne played down the good news, saying “I can’t promise the road ahead will always be smooth”, while Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg admitted “we’re not out of the woods yet”.

Joe Grice, chief economist of the Office for National Statistics, says: “We have had bumpy growth for a number of quarters, sometimes up, sometimes down.

“The overall growth has been much shallower than the economy in the pre-recession period. Whether today’s figure marks the start of a fundamental break from that pattern isn’t yet clear.”

The truth is, such marginal growth is not a sign of economic success, or stability. There is still a long way to go before we return to those halcyon pre-2008 days, when we could afford to heat our homes in the winter and go on holiday in the summer.

In the year ahead, the powers that be will be fighting against the tide to maintain economic growth, by any means necessary, so growth is likely to be faltering for the foreseeable future, and the merest sign of economic contraction will rekindle the triple-dip chatter.

However, even in the midst of economic uncertainty, there are a few bright spots for the savvy consumer.

The British economy: A survival guide

  • Get a mortgage STRANGELY, this could be the best time ever to get into debt. Across the UK, house prices are still far below their pre- 2008 peak, while banks and building societies are competing to offer the lowest interest rates on fixed-rate and variable mortgages.
  • Play the market BOTH London’s FTSE and New York’s Dow Jones have reported record highs recently, although they have been unable to sustain high values for more than a couple of weeks.
  • Get involved in politics BRITS love a moan, but we often forget we have the power to change things.

Political policy plays an enormous role in our economy – if you disagree with a policy, arrange a meeting with your MP and ask them to present your queries and concerns to Parliament.

Should you invest in . . .

Premium Bonds?

PREMIUM Bonds are a strange investment. You won’t receive any interest on your capital, but you may or may not get £1m at some point.

Assuming that inflation goes up at a rate of two per cent each year, in ten years’ time, a £100 investment would only have the spending power of £81.70.

Although that still represents a better rate of return than the lottery.