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UK economy slides into recession

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The United Kingdom, UK, economy has entered recession after recording two successive quarters of negative economic growth in the second half of last year, official data indicated on Thursday.

Reuters reports that the UK’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP, shrank by 0.3 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2023 after contracting 0.1 per cent in the previous three months, meeting the technical definition of a recession.

The Office for National Statistics confirmed this in a statement.

The development comes amid elevated inflation and a cost-of-living crisis, dealing a blow to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak before this year’s general election.

Accordingly, the Office for National Statistics noted that all main sectors shrank in the fourth quarter – with manufacturing, construction and wholesale being the biggest drags on growth – but added that the economy was broadly flat overall in 2023.

Sunak, whose governing Conservatives are trailing Keir Starmer’s main opposition Labour Party ahead of the election due this year, has pledged to grow the economy as one of his top five priorities.

The news of the recession comes as UK voters go to the polls in two by-elections on Thursday, with the Conservatives fearful of losing one-time strongholds in Wellingborough, Central England and Kingswood in the southwest.

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