The UK economy grew at a slower rate between April and June than previously thought, official figures reveal today, as the country's recovery nearly ground to a halt.

Gross domestic product – a broad measure for the total economy – grew 0.1% in the second quarter, down from previous estimates of 0.2%, the Office for National Statistics says.

Key Points

  • Growth just 0.1% in previous quarter
  • Initially estimated at 0.2%
  • 2008 recession deeper than first thought

The near-stagnant growth was driven by a 0.8% drop in consumer spending, the biggest fall in more than two years, and a 1.2% decline in the production industries, the ONS adds.

Elsewhere, it revealed growth in the first quarter of 2011 was revised down to 0.4% from 0.5% and the recession in 2008/09 was much deeper than previously thought but ended a quarter earlier than first estimated.

The revisions come following an annual rebalancing of accounts known as the Blue Book exercise, which involves changes to methodology.

Economic worries

The troubling data is released amid mounting fears over the health of the world economy, driven by the eurozone debt crisis, sluggish growth in the US and weak industry data in the UK and Europe.

The figures will come as a blow to Chancellor George Osborne who has come under increasing pressure to reconsider his strict package of austerity measures amid signs the economy is heading to the rocks.

But a spokesman for the Treasury says: "The economy is recovering from a recession we now know was deeper than we thought and the deepest of any major economy except Japan.

"Add to this the high levels of debt, particularly in the financial sector, which has been a drag on growth for the last six quarters, and it is clear that the recovery was always going to be difficult."

The data will pile more pressure on the Bank of England, which reveals the outcome of the monthly policy meeting tomorrow, to pump more cash into the economy to jump-start the recovery.

Manufacturing, service and trade surveys have recently pointed toward a slowdown - or possible contraction - in growth for the third quarter. Official GDP estimates for July to September will be released on November 1.

A number of seasonal factors, such as the royal wedding and the unusually hot spring, were previously blamed for clouding the picture in the second quarter.

Deeper recession

Meanwhile, the revisions revealed the UK suffered a much deeper recession in 2008 than previously thought.

The UK economy shrank 1.3%, 2% and 2.3% in the final three quarters of 2008, compared with previous estimates of 0.3%, 0.9% and 2.1%.

However, the emergence from recession in 2009 was slightly better than first estimated, with declines of 2.2% and 0.8% in the first two quarters being revised up to 1.6% and 0.2%, and the third quarter now showing 0.2% growth, compared with a 0.3% fall.

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