April 25 - Britain's economy dodged a return to recession in the first quarter of the year, providing some relief for Finance Minister George Osborne, who's come under pressure from the IMF to slow the pace of austerity. Joanna Partridge asks if the UK is doing enough to rebalance its economy.
A spring bounce, as the British economy blooms back to life. The UK grew by 0.3% in the first quarter of the year, avoiding a triple dip recession. The GDP figures were better than expected, says Joe Grice from the Office for National Statistics. SOUNDBITE: Joe Grice, Chief Economist, Office for National Statistics, saying (English): "It does look as if we have been on a plateau, a plateau with a gentle upward trend, and quite a bumpy one. So there is some growth since the trough of the recession, but it's been quite shallow and quite bumpy from one quarter to the next." The figures will come as a relief to British Finance Minister George Osborne, who was meeting with UK entrepreneurs. He's renewed his commitment to getting rid of Britain's budget deficit in 5 years. Osborne's debt-reduction plans were previously supported by the IMF, but it recently said the UK might need to slow the pace of austerity. In addition, ratings agency Fitch recently stripped the UK of its triple A credit rating. The GDP figures may help Osborne to convince the IMF Britain's recovery is on track. SOUNDBITE: George Osborne, UK Finance Minister, saying (English): "Our economy is growing, jobs are being created, this is the right long-term course for the United Kingdom and we will not shift from the entrepreneurial path we have chosen." PTC: East London's the centre of the UK tech scene and is home to new start-ups. Analysts say the fact that some traditional sectors like construction are still shrinking shows there's still work to be done to rebalance the British economy. Joanna Shields is CEO of the UK's Tech City Investment Organisation. Along with Osborne, she unveiled the Future Fifty programme - designed to help 50 UK firms grow faster. She believes the UK should focus more on entrepreneurship, to boost the technology sector. SOUNDBITE: Joanna Shields, CEO of Tech City Investment Organisation, saying (English): "We need to make entrepreneurship cool, we need to make it a credible career path. We need to teach more entrepreneurship in schools, we need to fill that skills gap with the right information and then of course the right role models." Britain's GDP data is only a preliminary estimate and could still be revised. But it may make it less likely that the Bank of England will expand its quantitative easing programme in May. The UK government will now hope the ride to recovery continues more smoothly, before the next election in May 2015.