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UK recession deeper than thought

UK recession deeper than thought
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Britain’s record recession was even deeper than previously thought, and the UK economy would likely have contracted in the first quarter of this year were it not for hefty government spending, according to official data.

The Office for National Statistics left its earlier estimate of first-quarter growth unrevised at 0.3 percent, giving an unchanged annual decline of 0.2 percent.

Britain faces mixed prospects for the second quarter, after data released at the same time showed that services output contracted 0.3 percent in April, the biggest fall since January.

During the first quarter, the biggest rise in government spending since Q4 2008 added 0.4 percent to GDP growth.

The figures suggest a major rebound in British exports will be needed to maintain growth when planned government spending cuts take effect from later this year.

And Britain’s new finance minister George Osborne could face even bigger problems that he originally thought.

A report from the Centre for Economics and Business Research, has calculated that the UK’s public sector debt could actually be more than twice the amount in official government figures.

That is because pensions for civil servants, teachers, police and other public-sector workers have not been included.