Reaction to release of latest UK GDP data

Key points

  • The UK economy avoids a triple-dip recession after it grew by 0.3% in the first three months of the year, according to figures released on 25 April.
  • The figure means the economy avoided two consecutive quarters of contraction - the definition of a recession
  • A triple-dip recession has not happened in the UK since records began in the 1950s
  • The UK economy is still smaller than it was before the onset of the financial crisis five years ago
  • Chancellor George Osborne said the figures were an "encouraging sign" but Labour's Ed Balls described them as lacklustre

Live text

Reporting:

  • Will Smale 
  • Alex Kleiderman 

Last updated 21 June 2013

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Welcome to our live coverage of the release of the latest GDP figures for the UK economy. At 09:30 BST the Office for National Statistics will reveal how the economy performed in the first three months of 2013. If the economy contracted, then it will mean that the UK has entered its third recession in five years.

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Ahead of the announcement, BBC News economist analyst Lewis Goodall has been examining the background. "The initial 2008-09 recession was so large, so overwhelming, that the economy still lives in its shadow," he writes.

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What is GDP? GDP or gross domestic product is the key guide to an economy's performance. If you would like a more detailed answer, check out our Q&A.

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Economist Rob Wood tells the Reuters news agency: "The chance that you see a small contraction... is pretty big. But I don't think this would change the underlying picture of an economy that has gone nowhere for 18 months and is struggling with some big headwinds."

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Although, a second quarter of contraction would put the UK back in recession, on average, economists are forecasting growth of 0.1%. A poll of analysts by Reuters resulted in forecasts ranging between a contraction of 0.2% and growth of 0.3%. See more background in our news story.

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Even if the UK does slide into a triple dip recession, things could be much worse. The latest unemployment rate in Spain has hit a record 27.2%, compared with 7.9% in the UK.

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The markets appear relaxed about the release of the latest GDP data. The main UK share index, the FTSE 100, is currently up 0.2%.

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Conservative MP Mark Field tells the BBC that whatever the GDP figures show, George Osborne should not deviate from his plan to cut the deficit, the so called "Plan A".