World Economy

British Economy Growth Best Since 2007

British Economy Growth Best Since 2007British Economy Growth Best Since 2007

Britain’s economy grew in 2014 at the fastest annual pace since before the financial crisis, despite a fourth-quarter slowdown, official data showed Tuesday in a pre-election boost to the government.

Gross domestic product – the value of all the goods and services produced in the economy – expanded by 2.6 percent, the best annual figure since 2007, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a statement, AFP said.

Economists said the data was welcome news for the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government, which faces an election in 100 days’ time in May.

The economy’s 2014 performance marked an acceleration from 1.7-percent growth in 2013 and was in line with expectations, but undershot the government’s official forecast for expansion of 3.0 percent.

The announcement bolstered expectations that Britain was likely to have been the world’s fastest growing major economy in last year.    

British Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives have placed the economy at the heart of their election campaign.

GDP is now 3.4 percent higher than its pre-recession peak at the start of  2008, according to the ONS.

On a gloomier note, it added that output rose just 0.5 percent in the October-December period compared with the previous three months, aided by a strong services industry.

That was the weakest quarterly rate in a year, as activity was weighed down by a construction sector which shrank at the fastest pace for more than two years. And the figure marked a slowdown from the 0.7 percent GDP growth seen in  the third quarter.

“Today’s figures confirm that the recovery is on track and our plan is protecting Britain from the economic storm, with the fastest growth of any major economy in 2014,” said Finance Minister George Osborne.

“But the international climate is getting worse, and with 100 days to go until the election now is not the time to abandon that plan and return Britain to economic chaos.”

The Q4 growth rate was the lowest level since the same period of 2013, when it stood at 0.4 percent. Market expectations had been for 0.6-percent growth.