Britain’s economy grew at the slowest pace for a year at the start of 2022, as official figures showed a contraction in March amid mounting fears that the cost-of-living crisis may plunge the UK into recession.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said gross domestic product (GDP) rose by 0.8% between January and March, down from growth of 1.3% in the previous three months and the weakest since the first quarter of last year.
The figures showed that on a monthly basis, GDP fell by 0.1% in March after growth stalled in February and rose by 0.7% in January.
While the expansion means GDP is now 0.7% above levels seen before the pandemic struck, the figures are likely to mark the calm before the storm as warnings are growing over a recession in the UK as the cost-of-living crisis deepens.
Darren Morgan, director of economic statistics at the Office for National Statistics (ONS), said: “The UK economy grew for the fourth consecutive quarter and is now clearly above pre-pandemic levels, although growth in the latest three months was the lowest for a year.
“This was driven by growth in a number of service sectors as the economy continued to recover from Covid-19 effects, including hospitality, transport, employment agencies and travel agencies. There was also strong growth in IT.”
He added: “Our latest monthly estimates show GDP (gross domestic product) fell a little in March, with drops in both services and in production.
“Construction, though, saw a strong month, thanks partly to repair work after the February storms.”