Economy slows in third quarter


Economy slows in third quarter
Britain's GDP growth slowed in the third quarter of 2007, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed today.

During the three months to September GDP growth stood at 0.7 per cent, down from the 0.8 per cent seen in the second quarter. This pushes GDP 3.3 per cent above the third quarter of 2006.

Analysts say the slips seen so far herald the beginning of the widely-anticipated slowdown in the UK economy expected for 2008 as the global credit crunch continues to hit home.

High house prices, constrained consumer spending, growing debt, pressure from relatively-high recent interest rates and a struggling manufacturing sector are described as "significant headwinds" facing the UK economy by Howard Archer of research firm Global Insight.

"The GDP data confirm that growth started to slip in the third quarter from the above trend levels seen through the first half of 2007, as the credit crunch came to the fore," he said.

"Nevertheless growth was still healthy, led by strong consumer spending and elevated investment."

Mr Archer predicted GDP would slow from 3.1 per cent in 2007 to just 1.9 per cent next year, making it the second-weakest year since 1992.

"This is Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling's Christmas present to the British economy," the Conservatives' shadow chief secretary to the Treasury Philip Hammond said.

"They borrowed in a boom, so they've got little room for manoeuvre now things are getting tougher. Borrowing costs money and hard-pressed families will be left to pick up the pieces through more stealth taxes and falling take-home pay."

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