The UK’s economy flatlined in the last three months of 2022, helping it to avoid a recession by the thinnest of margins, new data show.
The Office for National Statistics recorded 0.0% growth in gross domestic product (GDP) in the fourth quarter.
The ONS said that when counting to two decimal places, the UK eked out a tiny 0.01% growth. These figures might be revised in late March when the ONS looks again.
It came as December’s GDP figures showed that the economy shrunk by 0.5%, in part due to strikes and the World Cup, as the Premier League took a break.
“Meanwhile, the break in Premier League football for the World Cup and postal strikes also caused a slowdown.”
“In December public services were hit by fewer operations and GP visits, partly due to the impact of strikes, as well as notably lower school attendance.
Across the year as a whole, the economy grew by 4% as restaurants, bars and travel agents bounced back from the pandemic, the ONS said.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said that the UK is “not out the woods yet” and said that the country could have some of the best growth prospects in Europe if it sticks to his plan.
“Our economy is more resilient than many feared,” he said.
“If we stick to our plan to halve inflation this year, we can be confident of having amongst the best prospects for growth of anywhere in Europe.”
Labour shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves called for more help for households with the cost of living.
“Today’s figures show us how – despite Britain’s great potential – our economy is stuck in the slow lane,” she said.
“And we must bring in urgent measures to prevent yet more harm from the cost-of-living crisis, using a proper windfall tax on oil and gas giants to stop the energy price cap going up in April so that people have more money in their pockets.”