| 4.2°C Dublin

UK economic decline worse than expected

The strength of the recovery in the UK was dealt a further blow today as official figures revealed the decline in the economy in the final three months of 2010 was worse than originally feared.

Gross domestic product declined by 0.6pc between October and December, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said, revised downward from an original estimate of a decline of 0.5pc. It is the largest GDP fall in more than two years, since the second quarter in 2009.

The severe weather in December was still largely to blame for the plunge in the fourth quarter, the ONS said, which ended a year of growth in the UK.

But today's revised data, which includes details of the expenditure side of the economy for the first time, showed household spending declined 0.1pc, the first drop since the second quarter of 2009.

The figures were worse than economists expected and will raise further concerns over the strength of the economy and its ability to withstand the coalition Government's deficit-busting austerity measures.

PA Media