British official growth confirmed at 0.5% in first quarter

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The British economy expanded by 0.5 percent in the first three months of 2011, unrevised official data showed on Tuesday, leaving economic activity broadly flat over the past six months.

"Gross domestic product grew by 0.5 percent in the latest quarter, unrevised from growth previously published," the Office for National Statistics said in a statement.

The ONS gave its third and final estimate for first quarter GDP, while the previous two readings were also for 0.5 percent growth for the January to March period when compared with the fourth quarter of 2010.

Growth in the first quarter meanwhile followed a contraction of 0.5 percent in the final quarter of 2010, when British economic output was hit hard by heavy snowfall.

The ONS added on Tuesday that the British economy grew by 1.6 percent in the first quarter compared with the equivalent period in 2010. This was revised down from an earlier estimate of 1.8-percent growth.

The British economy pulled out of a record-length recession in late 2009 but the recovery has faltered, amid concern over the impact of deep state spending cuts, tax hikes and high inflation.

© 2011 AFP

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