UK ‘depression’ ended in 2009, says economic think tank NIESR

The worst British recession in almost 90 years came to end in the final three months of 2009 with economic growth of 0.3pc, a think tank has estimated.

The National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) data showed a 4.8pc fall in gross domestic product (GDP) for 2009, Britain’s biggest contraction since 1921.Describing the downturn as a “depression”, NIESR said that output fell sharply for 12 months until March 2009, “and has not changed very much since then, although evidence of a recovery is starting to emerge.”

NIESR’s GDP figures include an assumption that industry output grew by 0.5pc during October to December. If NIESR is correct and the economy did start growing again in the fourth quarter it would mark the first rise in GDP in six quarters, since the first three months of 2008.

Official confirmation of whether or not the UK emerged from recession at the end of last year will come on January 26, when the Office for National Statistics publishes fourth quarter GDP data. On a monthly basis, NIESR said the economy grew by 0.5pc in December. Martin Weale, director of NIESR, said the outlook for growth during the early part of 2010 was not as good: “There is a worry that the first quarter may be weaker, following the VAT rise in January.”


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