Figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that first quarter economic growth in 2011 was just 0.5 per cent, following a 0.5 per cent decrease in the final quarter of 2010.
David Kern, chief economist at the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC), said: “These figures were mixed and well below the OBR prediction that the economy would grow by 0.8 per cent this quarter.”
Kern said the BCC predicts GDP will grow by 1.4 per cent for the year, which is lower than the Office for Budget Responsibility’s (OBR) forecast of 1.7 per cent.
He said: “Given the fragility of the recovery, it is vital for the government to persevere with policies that support growth, and remove the obstacles that prevent businesses from creating jobs and exporting.”
A strong performance in the post and telecommunications sector led to a 2.7 per cent growth in transport, storage and communications. This compares to a 1.7 per cent decrease in the final quarter of last year.
The business services and finance sector grew by one per cent after dropping 0.8 per cent in the previous quarter.
Manufacturing continued to grow as output increased by 1.1 per cent following a similar increase in the final quarter of 2010.
The pace of decline in the construction industry increased as it fell by 4.7 per cent after a 2.3 per cent decrease in the previous quarter.