The Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed this morning UK GDP growth in the first quarter halved to 0.3% from 0.6% in Q4, well below the level of 0.5% forecast by analysts.
Only two of the 39 respondents to Bloomberg’s survey predicted the first quarter number accurately, and estimates ranged from 0.3% to as high as 0.8%.
This is the lowest level of economic growth in the UK since Q4 2012 and an unwelcome blow to the Conservative party just over a week before the general election.
This year’s election has been hotly contested, with polls suggesting the Labour and Conservative parties are neck-and-neck and the result remaining highly uncertain.
One of the largest contributors to the slowdown in growth in the first quarter was the construction, which fell by 1.6%, while production and agriculture fell by 0.1% and 0.2%, respectively.
The strongest sector of the economy was sevices, which expanded by 0.5%. Year-on-year GDP growth stands at 2.4%.
The ONS said: “Although there has generally been growth across all major components of GDP since the start of 2013, the service industries remain the largest and steadiest contributor to economic growth and the only component of GDP where output has exceeded its pre-downturn peak.”