Today’s data shows the UK economy growing less than expected at the end of last year and leaves the weakest result in growth since 2012, with the UK only just better than Italy and Japan amongst the G7 countries.
The big loser of the year was business investment which contracted sharply again, its fourth consecutive contraction. This is the first time that has happened since the Global Financial Crisis. Similarly, manufacturing has now contracted for the sixth month in a row and was down for ten out of twelve months last year.
These weaknesses are the result of growing uncertainties around Brexit which has hit manufacturing numbers and dented investment and exports. These are very worrying signs as the Brexit D-Day approaches and emphasise just how important it is that parliament passes the Prime Minister’s deal to remove the blockages in the economy and help businesses get back to work.