Economic malaise

Economic malaise
Economic malaise

Another quarter of disappointing GDP figures has sent the economy to the top of the agenda this week.

Tuesday saw the Office for National Statistics reveal that growth in the third quarter of 2011 was 0.5% - but that together the second and third quarters should be considered to both have had growth of roughly 0.3%.

Ministers clashed with the opposition over whether this represented positive news. The government compared growth to that seen in the US, but opposition figures pointed out that in the last 12 months the US had grown by significantly more than the UK.

Treasury officials warned afterwards that Britain's GDP growth was likely to slow further into the middle of next year, underlining concerns about the possibility of a double-dip recession.

Ongoing question-marks about the coalition's austerity drive in a bid to stabilise the nation's public finances and reduce the deficit continue to be raised by Labour.

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