Growth in UK’s economy stalls in April according to official figures

The UK’s economy failed to grow in April due to a fall in consumer spending.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said there was no growth for the month, which was in line with many economists’ predictions.

The halt in growth came after the UK economy recorded its fastest growth in two years from January to March.

The positive figures at the start of the year meant the UK had exited the recession it fell into in the final half of last year.

Spending on services grew for the fourth month in a row, but this was offset by falls in production and in the construction industry.

The news will come as a blow to Rishi Sunak who has placed the recovery in the economy at the heart of his election strategy.

Mike Randall, chief executive at Simply Asset Finance said: “The UK’s slow crawl toward economic recovery shines a spotlight on the challenges facing businesses up and down the country.

“With political parties setting out their stall in the lead-up to the election, far too little attention has been paid to what SMEs need to start, develop, and succeed.

“There is no shortage of ambition or ingenuity in the UKs business sectors. But they are still too often starved of funding, lacking access to skills, and hamstrung by productivity challenges. If we want the UK to rebuild its economic resilience, it’s imperative that the right conditions are created for SMEs to thrive. Failure to prioritise this, by whoever has the keys to Number 10 come July 5th, is unacceptable.”

Professor Joe Nellis, MHA’s economic advisor and professor of global economy, at Cranfield School of Management, added: “The flat figure for April GDP data while expected given activity tends to slow down around bank holidays is still disappointing. While the economy has recovered from a ‘technical recession’ last year, growth is likely to remain sluggish for some time.

“There may be more positive news on GDP later in the year given that UK construction and manufacturing PMI data have been steadily improving since the beginning of the year and they are a good lead indicator as to what we can expect in the medium term.

“However, today’s data shows that the UK economy is still in a precarious position and we remain sceptical about the affordability of major tax cuts, with so many potential bumps in the road in the second half of the year and beyond.

“Whoever picks up the keys of 10 Downing Street on July 5 will have to face up to the reality of an economy that while no longer in crisis has some significant challenges ahead.”