New figures show Britain’s economy edged closer to recession in the last three months of 2011.
The Office for National Statistics said GDP shrank by 0.2 percent slightly more than economists expected.
Manufacturing and construction slumped and the services sector was stagnant.
That makes it more probable that there will further stimulus measures from the Bank of England.
For 2011 as a whole, GDP expanded by 0.9 percent, less than half the pace recorded in 2010.
If UK output falls in the first three months of 2012, Britain will enter its second recession in three years.
Britain’s recovery from the 2008/2009 recession has already been sluggish, and unemployment has crept up to a 17-year high as the government cuts spending deeply to erase a huge budget deficit.
The minutes from the Bank of England’s January policy meeting showed that the central bank inched closer to pumping more money into the faltering economy.