UK recovery slows as election day looms
Britain's economy slowed sharply in the first three months of 2015, a setback for Prime Minister David Cameron, inset, who has staked his campaign for re-election next week on the strength of the recovery.
GDP grew by 0.3pc in the January-March period, the slowest quarterly rate since the end of 2012 when there were fears Britain was heading into recession.
Economists said the weakness was likely to be a blip, with the economy still on course for another strong year of growth.
But coming just nine days before what looks like being the closest election in a generation, the numbers put Cameron's Conservatives on the back foot.
Finance minister George Osborne said the recovery could not be taken for granted and urged voters to stick with the Conservative Party.
"The future of our economy is on the ballot paper at this election," he said. "With rising instability abroad, now is the worst possible time to vote for instability at home."