UK business investment falls

UK business investment falls
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Business investment in Britain fell in annual terms between January and March.

It was the first such decline in three years and comes amid uncertainty around the vote on whether the UK stays in the European Union.

The Office for National Statistics confirmed overall UK economic growth slowed in that period, rising by 0.4 percent from the previous quarter.

Business investment was down 0.4 percent year-on-year after rising a full three percent in the final three months of last year.

The ONS said the fall was driven by weaker investment in offices and other non-residential buildings.

Consumer spending has been the main driver of Britain’s recovery from the financial crisis and policymakers have said they want to see greater investment by businesses to secure a more balanced economy.

The Bank of England and the International Monetary Fund have said there have been signs that uncertainty around the June 23 vote has weighed on investment.

The BoE has also said commercial property transactions fell 40 percent in the first quarter of this year.

Earlier this month, the heads of 15 major international companies who are major investors in Britain, including GE, Cisco, Mars and Airbus, called for Britain to remain in the EU and said future investment decisions could be affected by a decision to leave the bloc’s single market.