The Office for National Statistics has released figures showing growth in the UK economy slowed to 0.3% in the first quarter of 2015. As Jacob Greaves reports, the results may prove problematic for the ruling Conservatives party just nine days before an election.
The party for economic recovery. It's the phrase the Conservatives have ran with this campaign. But that line may have taken a hit on news that Britain's GDP growth has slowed. Reuters chief economics correspondent Bill says the figures came as a surprise. SOUNDBITE: Reuters chief economics correspondent, Bill Schomberg, saying (English): "Official numbers are out and they show that the economy slowed down in the first three months of this year. Growth was 0.3% that was much weaker than the median forecast of 0.5%. A couple of banks had predicted had predicted growth would slow to as much as 0.3%, but it was still a bit of a shock." The first quarter figures weighed down by a big fall in construction. The Prime Minister though, says this is exactly why the Conservatives should be returned to power. SOUNDBITE: British Prime Minister, David Cameron, saying (English): "It's frankly a timely reminder that we cannot take recovery for granted. These figures show the economy's still growing, that is good, but they demonstrate that you've got insecurity and instability all over the world including on our doorstep in Europe." Perhaps more a murmur rather than tremor in terms of economic growth. But just 9 days ahead of an election, it's political fodder for opponents of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition. Labour saying this is proof the last government failed to fix the economy for working families. But David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg may still have one ace up their sleeves on the campaign trail. The latest and last GDP figures before the election showing the UK is still the best performing economy in the G7.