Latest GDP figures paint a picture of soft overall economic growth for Britain in the first quarter, with a weaker than expected services sector. Grace Pascoe reports.
The UK economy grew 0.3% in the first quarter of 2015. A sharp decline from last year's 0.6% figure. Growth suffered due to rising imports and a service sector slowdown. Kathleen Brooks is from FOREX.COM. (SOUNDBITE) (English) KATHLEEN BROOKS, DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH AT FOREX.COM, SAYING: "We think the economy will probably meander along fairly nicely, we don't expect acceleration in growth, we don't expect a sharp slowdown either. We will have very moderate, middle of the road growth and it is largely to do with this trade issue, in the first quarter we saw services slow a little bit but we did see a slight increase in production, a slight increase in construction as well but that is not being transferred into exports basically." Trade proved a major drag on the economy knocking 0.9 percentage points off the GDP rate. This due to high imports of oil, machinery and transport equipment. (SOUNDBITE) (English) KATHLEEN BROOKS, DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH AT FOREX.COM, SAYING: "That limits our potential, it also suggests that since the financial crisis successive governments have failed at re-balancing our economy, absolutely failed, we are still very reliant on the service sector and until wages rise that does mean that the service sector growth will be limited." There is still hope though. The Bank of England says first quarter growth may ultimately be revised up to 0.5 per cent.