UK GDP Falls By 0.3% In Last Quarter
The UK's national output fell by 0.3% in the fourth quarter, according to the Office for National Statistics.
The contraction of gross domestic product (GDP), which was worse than most forecasts, compared with a 0.9% rise in the previous three months.
Britain now appears closer to its third recession in four years, or the so-called triple-dip recession.
GDP is seen as the broadest measure of a country's economic output, and the figure undergoes regular revision as more data reaches statisticians.
The ONS said GDP contracted partially because of lower output from North Sea resource producers and manufacturers.
Mining and quarrying also suffered its biggest fall in output since records began in 1997.
Quarries supply a range of other sectors such as construction, railways and road-building - which includes repairing potholes.
The figure now raises more concerns over the economic policy of the coalition Government.
On Thursday it defended its austerity programme against criticism from the International Monetary Fund's chief economist.
Chancellor George†Osborne said he would not "run away" from the problems facing the UK economy, insisting: "We have a reminder today that Britain faces a very difficult economic situation.
"Now, we can either run away from those problems or we can confront them - and I am determined to confront them so that we can go on creating jobs for the people of this country."
Meanwhile, shadow chancellor Ed Balls accused the Prime Minister and Mr Osborne of being "asleep at the wheel".
He said: "Today is the moment when David Cameron and George Osborne's complacency is completely exposed.
"These deeply disappointing figures expose just how dangerously complacent the Prime Minister was when he said last autumn that the 'good news will keep coming'."
The economy is now 3.3% smaller than at its peak in Q1 2008, recovering only about half the output lost during the financial crisis - a worse performance than other major economies.
The disruption to North Sea oil and gas fields was partially attributed to a maintenance programme which saw the shut-down of certain key pumping infrastructure.
This knocked 0.18% off GDP, while slightly smaller amounts of damage were done by a fall in factory output and in the "Government and other services" category.
In the third quarter this sector was boosted by the London Olympics effect on sports and recreation services.
At the start of 2013, one-off factors, such as January's snow, may seal the fate of an economy on a knife-edge between growth and contraction, with major retailer John Lewis already warning that snow had hit sales growth.
But some experts believe the country can still avoid the feared return of recession.
Experts on the Sky News Money Panel had mixed feelings on the results and risk of triple dip, ahead of the results.
Ross Walker, UK economist at RBS Global Banking & Markets, said: "I think a formal triple dip will be narrowly avoided.
"The early signs of chaos around the January snowfall threatened to tilt the balance of risks the other way, but anecdotally the disruption to the wider economy does not seem as bad as initially feared."
James Daley, money editor at Which?, added: "It's quite possible that Britain is heading for a triple-dip recession - though I think the importance of this could be overplayed.
"The economy has effectively been flatlining for almost four years now - with the odd quarter or two of growth quickly offset by a few quarters of contraction.
"Sadly, there are still no green shoots of recovery, and with many of the public sector cuts still working their way through, 2013 looks set to be another tough year for consumers."
Asked how the retail sector could be improved, Louise George, from Peter Popple's Popcorn, said: "(The Government) could offer more funding and support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
"So that they are able to grow their businesses and are able to offer lower prices to consumers through economies of scales of having more cashflow."
Anthony Thomson, the founder and former chairman of Metro bank, also warned of the disparity between SMEs and large firms.
"We continue to be a two-speed economy in the business sector. Small businesses are still keeping their heads down and hoarding cash," Mr Thomson said.
"There is credit available for them if they want it but they are being very cautious. Big businesses are using the incredibly low interest rate environment to tap the bond market, bypassing traditional bank lending."
what do you think?
Well, Osbourne, that went well, didn't it?
Wow! Never mind the dire economy - this is the first new story on orange in 48 hours!! !! Is that because nothing has happend in the world or just lousy journalism? Make your own opinions. . But expect to be censored. . . And never use the word f u n d s in case someone gets offended
Make the most of it Steve,next week it will be all about same sex marriage.......Yuk.
Darren.........Rather you than me pal.Hope it goes well for you.
No theres nothing wrong with same sex marriage, but not in a church if thst church abides by tje bible.the words double standards come to my mind.
did george and dave get married ???
Yes jimmy, george and dave got married in a church , a big posh cetemony by all accounts.but now their going through rather a messy divorce, dave apparently took the adopted kids and ran off with a married woman and left george to cry on the vicars shoulder.
so whats the tories excuse this time? leaves on the line? too much rain? dog ate the paperwork?
Whoever compiled that report must have a degree in the blindingly obvious
Now this is one statistic most forecast and I believe but is it the ONS that told us yesterday crime is down cause if it is then we had better look at these figures again. As someone already said Georgie from nbr 11 seems to have a question or two to answer
Blue side. The reducing crime figures were interesting especially as within 24 hours serious doubts were being expressed as to their accuracy. They are target driven and as anyone who has worked with targets knows full well they are manipulated to ensure the targets are met, usually at the expense of other areas.
O so right
Anyone seen George? Last seen in a cupboard curled in the feotal position sucking his thumb. This government really hasn't a clue on what to do next and now running out of excuses.
HWG The way we continue to bump along the bottom it is hard not to agree with you although the continuing reduction in unemployment is welcome. My fear is that the next govt don't have a clue what to do either given their past record.
D&L I think the biggest worry is who do we get next. The main parties are both extremist in their own way and the rest of the minor parties have one goal only and couldn't run a pub raffle between them. I've tried to come up with one decent policy decision the tories have made and came up empty. Too easy to blame Gordon Brown for plunging the world into recession
Yet again the media are talking the country back in to recession ! Is there any need for the big -0.3% in red ? Does -0.3% really make that much difference ? In my business things have oicked up over the last six /eight months, customers are saying the same, they have more work on.......................get the idea Orange/newspapers/tv news ???????
Sladey. That is good news as I suspect that it is the small firms like yours who will eventually get us out of this mess. Keep it up sunshine.
sladey all these stats are historic by nature but the overlying trend is not good and as Dave says it will be the SMEs that make the biggest impact trouble is these are also the ones who need more support particularly those manufacturing for export
triple dip? cant remember comin out the first dip.
Just bouncing along the bottom - there will be periods of small rises and small falls for many years to come it is all part of the same recession, the seeds planted by the Blair Brown comedy act
Yes Michael, tony blair / gordon brown have got a lot to answer for. . . But the root problem is because they continued thatcherite economic policies. Thatcher is the root cause
The 'economic cycle' will be with always ie good times follwed by not so good times. Governments cannot prevent this - all they can do is alter the timing and extent of the swings. Broon decided he had actually cured us from the 'bust' side of the equation and acted accordingly. In doing this he caused a massive bust. Had he taken the necessary measures early enough the recession would have been the usual 'short-lived' correction.
The 'short-lived' bit of the above is meant comparatively speaking. The world recession has deepened the woes for all countries.
Stevie personally I believe the problems started in 1924 with Ramsey McDonald, the country has been going down hill ever since
We're into a triple dip recession just a couple of months after being told that we were told that we had come out of recession. Do they not credit us with the intelligence to remember that far back ? The coalition is approaching three years in its term of office, the policies (if any) should be showing some favourable effect by now, blaming the previous regime or even the bad weather is no longer an option.
Stewgwyn. Agreed. The problem is that the cycle will be repeated after the election. The finances are worse than we thought, we can't loosen the squeeze but don't blame us it's all the Tories fault. It is like a cracked record
I think im gonna become a drug dealer or a loan shark.their the only peaple making money at the moment it seems to me.
Dont forget the bankers and politicians mate, they're still ranking it in
I wonder how much the population has grown whilst the economy has shrunk?
OMG! Where did I put the Samaritans phone number?
well well well what a pickle the two clowns are in
Actually this news is not so bad. The Government have warned us that we are in for a difficult time during 2013 but that things will improve in 2014. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. We will have to wait and see.
they said that in 2011 2012
And if you believe that then you must believe in fairies
Oh well the IMF will print more money making it worth a lot less exactly what happened before the wall street crash in the 1920s
At least the Tories have got abit if snow they have been praying for.............cue next months excuses for going back into recession.
Well,im not surprised with this Government in power.