The British economy is mired in a deep double-dip recession after figures published Wednesday showed a sharp decline of economic growth of 0.7 per cent in the second quarter of this year, the government conceded.
Prime Minister David Cameron said the figures were "obviously very disappointing." He said they outlined the extent of the economic difficulties facing Britain, "not least the situation right across the eurozone where our neighbours are also really struggling."
George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whose strict austerity policy has been blamed for choking economic growth, conceded that the figures revealed the "UK's deep-rooted economic problems."
"We're dealing with our debts at home and the debt crisis abroad...Given what's happening in the world, we need a relentless focus on the economy," he said, promising more measures to stimulate lending and invest in infrastructure projects.
The 0.7-per-cent decline in gross domestic product (GDP) between April and June of this year followed two previous quarters of negative growth, which put Britain's economy in technical recession.
It is the steepest rate of decline since the height of the financial crisis in early 2009, and far exceeded expert predictions of a fall in growth of 0.2 per cent for the second quarter of 2012.
Some analysts cited the impact of special affects, such as the long Jubilee holiday weekend in June and the poor summer weather. But the opposition Labour Party blamed government policy for the figures.
"These shocking figures speak for themselves," said Ed Balls, Labour's spokesman on the economy. The government's "ill-judged" austerity plans had "turned Britain's recovery into a flat-lining economy and now a deep and deepening recession."
The Trade Union Congress (TUC) said: "The government's austerity strategy is failing so spectacularly that it has wiped out the recovery completely."
Although the figures are preliminary and may be revised, economists remained cautious.
"Even allowing for a decent bounce-back in the third quarter, we still expect the economy to contract by about 0.5 per cent this year and to grow by only 0.5 per cent in 2013," predicted Vicky Redwood of Capital Economics.
Most Popular Stories
- SEO Traffic Lab Celebrate Wins at Digital Marketing Event 'Internet World 2013' in London
- Social Media Initiatives Should Follow Customers' Lead
- Apple CEO: Offshore Units Not a 'Tax Gimmick'
- U.S. Senate Accuses Apple of Large-scale Tax Avoidance
- UTEP Water Recycling Project Wins Venture Titles
- Marketo Makes a Mint in IPO: Stock Shoots Up More than 50 Percent
- Bieber Booed at Billboard Awards
- Crude Oil Up, Gasoline Down
- Austin Startup Compare Metrics Raises $3.5 Million for Expansion
- Why So Many Top 'Car Guys' Are Actually Women