UK's economy unexpectedly grows and reduces risk of recession

The UK economy unexpectedly grew in November and reduced the risk of the country entering a recession, according to official figures.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) recorded an increase of 0.1% as the services sector remained in growth despite the soaring cost of living.

Experts said the slight rise was supported by the technology sector and a strong showing by pubs and bars amid a boost from the winter World Cup in Qatar.

It nevertheless represented a slowdown in growth after GDP increased by 0.5% in October.

Analysts had predicted the economy would shrink by 0.3% for November.

ONS director of economic statistics Darren Morgan said: ‘The economy grew a little in November, with increases in telecommunications and computer programming helping to push the economy forward.

‘Pubs and bars also did well as people went out to watch World Cup games.

‘This was partially offset by further falls in some manufacturing industries, including the often-erratic pharmaceutical industry, as well as falls in transport and postal, partially due to the impact of strikes.

‘Over the last three months, however, the economy still shrank – mainly due to the impact of the extra bank holiday for the funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth in September.’

Jonathan Moyes, head of investment research at the Wealth Club said the news could bring hope for the coming year.

He said: ‘Many will be taken by surprise by today’s announcement.

‘We have seen retailers report stronger than expected earnings reports for Q4 over the past week, and it appears a stronger than expected consumer services and services more broadly have helped the UK economy defy gloomy expectations.

‘It may be too soon to mark the beginning of a turn in sentiment for the UK, but a quiet consensus appears to be forming.’

Meanwhile Rachel Reeves, Labour’s shadow Chancellor, said the small growth was nothing to celebrate just yet.

She said: ‘Today’s results are just another page in the book of failure that is the Tory record on growth.

‘The news of further economic pain will be deeply concerning to families already struggling with the soaring cost of living.’

Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt said: ‘We have a clear plan to halve inflation this year – an insidious hidden tax which has led to hikes in interest rates and mortgage costs, holding back growth here and around the world.

‘To support families through this tough patch, we will provide an average of £3,500 support for every household over this year and next – but the most important help we can give is to stick to the plan to halve inflation this year so we get the economy growing again.’

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