UK GDP growth estimate for 2013 revised down to 1.7%

A Nissan employee works on the second generation Qashqai, at the Nissan plant in Sunderland
The manufacturing sector grew in the final quarter of 2013

The UK’s economy grew by 1.7% last year, official figures show, less than the previous estimate of 1.8%.

It is the second time the estimate for GDP growth in 2013 has been cut, after an initial estimate of 1.9%.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) confirmed that the UK economy grew by 0.7% in the final quarter of 2013, unchanged from its previous estimate.

Business investment rose 2.4% in the fourth quarter, the ONS confirmed.

Services growth

At the end of 2013, the size of the UK economy remained 1.4% below its pre-downturn peak reached at the beginning of 2008, the ONS said, but signs of economic recovery strengthened in 2013.

In the final three months of 2013, the ONS said “growth in the services industries remained the strongest contributor” to the economy, increasing by 0.8% during the period.

The manufacturing sector grew by 0.5%, in the fourth quarter, but the construction sector contracted by 0.2%.

Manufacturers’ industry body EEF said the fourth quarter estimates may point to “a more balanced pattern of growth” in 2014.

“Businesses have begun 2014 in positive mood, with activity in the manufacturing sector and across the wider economy expected to rise at a healthy clip in the first quarter,” said Neil Prothero, deputy chief economist at EEF.

“Translating firms’ intentions to invest and hire more staff into concrete action remains the ultimate test if the UK is to achieve a sustainable long-term recovery,” he added.

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said that the ONS data “supports our view that the UK recovery remains on course”.

“However, there is little doubt that the further efforts are needed to place the recovery on a broader footing, as we are still too reliant on consumer spending,” said BCC chief economist David Kern.