UK economy fails to grow in February

The UK economy failed to grow in February after being hit by the effects of strikes across the public sector and weakness in industrial output, official figures have revealed.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said on Thursday that the growth rate unchanged in February, falling below forecast in a Reuters poll expectations for a 0.1% rise in activity.

Strikes by civil servants and teachers held back growth in the economy in February, says Darren Morgan, Director of Economic Statistics at the Office for National Statistics.

The comments came hours after Jeremy Hunt, Chancellor of the Exchequer, insisted the UK would do “significantly better” than the International Monetary Fund(IMF)’s forecast on Tuesday that the economy was expected to shrink by 0.3% this year.

The IMF this week forecast that the UK economy would shrink as the worst performance of any G7 economy, putting Britain at the bottom of the world’s major economies in terms of expected economic growth in 2023.

Despite February’s poor performance, Hunt said the UK’s economic outlook was “brighter than expected” and that GDP – the measure of economic growth – had grown by 0.1% in the three months to February.

The opposition Labour Party’s Shadow Chancellor, Rachel Reeves, in a statement said the figures showed the economy was slowing down. “Despite our enormous promise and potential as a country, Britain is still lagging behind on the global stage with growth on the floor,” he added.

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