Niesr: GDP growth set to shrivel this year as a smaller manufacturing sector weighs on UK economy

Jake Cordell
Follow Jake
A smaller manufacturing industry is dragging down GDP growth in the UK economy
A smaller manufacturing industry is dragging down GDP growth in the UK economy (Source: Getty)

Britain’s economy is growing at its slowest pace since 2012, according to the latest estimates of GDP from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (Niesr).

Niesr estimated that the UK economy grew by just 0.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2016 - a marked slowdown from the 0.6 per cent growth clocked at the end of last year and the slowest rate of growth since the UK flirted with a double dip recession in 2012.

Read more: Niesr criticises immigration debate

“The subdued growth in the first quarter of 2016 has been primarily driven by weakness in production industries, especially manufacturing,” according to James Warren, research fellow at Niesr.

Manufacturing output fell by 1.8 per cent over the last year, according to official figures out this morning, while the UK’s performance on trade also continues to disappoint. The government’s forecasters at the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) expect the UK economy to grow by two per cent over the course of 2016.

Some economists have warned, however, that the economy would grow at a slower rate if Britain votes to leave the European Union in the referendum on 23 June.

The GDP estimates released by Niesr are typically a better indicator of the size of the UK economy than the first estimates released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).