Economy grows by 0.6pc

Chancellor George Osborne. Picture by Chris Radburn/PA Wire

Chancellor George Osborne. Picture by Chris Radburn/PA Wire - Credit: PA

The UK economy notched up successive quarters of growth as gross domestic product (GDP) rose 0.6% in the second quarter of the year, official figures showed today.

It was the first time since 2011 that the UK has seen back-to-back quarterly increases, after a 0.3% rise at the beginning of this year.

The Office for National Statistics figures showed all the main sectors of the economy grew for the first time since the third quarter of 2010, adding to hopes for a recovery.

Prime Minister David Cameron said the figures were 'encouraging' and showed the UK was on the 'right track'.

He wrote on Twitter: 'Today's economic growth figures are encouraging. We are on the right track - building an economy for hardworking people.'

Chancellor George Osborne tweeted: 'GDP stats better than forecast. Britain's holding its nerve, we're sticking to our plan, the economy's on the mend. But still a long way to go.'

The overall 0.6% growth figure for the UK economy in the second quarter was in line with expectations.

Most Read

Vicky Redwood, of Capital Economics, said: 'Of course, we shouldn't get too carried away. Even a 0.6% quarterly rise is fairly mediocre after such a deep recession and GDP is still 3.3% below its peak.

'And with households' real pay still falling, bank lending flat and public sector austerity measures building, the economy may struggle to maintain its recent rate of growth in the second half of this year.

'Nonetheless, evidence is building that the economy is gradually getting back on its feet.'

The powerhouse services sector, which represents three-quarters of the economy, represented the bulk of the increase, as it expanded by 0.6%.

Within this area, business services and finance rose 0.5% after slipping back in the first quarter - with architectural and engineering activities making the strongest contribution.

Hotels, restaurants and distribution also contributed to the services improvement, growing 1.5%.

Gains in the beleaguered construction and manufacturing sectors, still well below their 2008 peaks, will be especially welcome.

Construction, boosted by Government initiatives to stimulate home buying, rose 0.9% after falling 1.8% in the previous quarter.

Manufacturing also saw a turnaround in fortunes, picking up 0.4% after a 0.2% fall last time. It contributed to an overall increase in the production sector of 0.6%.

But production remains 13.4% off its 2008 peak, with construction still 16.5% down. Overall GDP was 3.3% below the peak.