Britain looks likely to slip back into recession after new figures this week showed the economy has started to contract.
The economy chrank 0.2% in the last quarter of 2011. For an economy to be officially in recession it must shrink for two consecutive quarters.
The figure is within the margin of error and most preliminary conclusions are later revised, but the political ramifications of the report are very severe.
The ONS report showed production industries decreased by 1.2%, compared with a 0.2% increase the previous quarter.