Official figures revealed Britain dodged a much-feared triple-dip recession with growth of 0.3% in the first three months of the year.
Today's news that a triple dip recession has been averted means very little in economic terms, but politically it is critical.
The latest GDP figures show Britain has avoided another recession, but the long-term picture is of an economy that remains resolutely flat.
Only a quarter of the population believe the Chancellor's economic plan is right for the country, a new survey suggests.
The Index poll, conducted by ComRes for ITV News, found 24% agreed that George Osborne's economic plan is right for the country, while 41% disagreed and 35% did not know.
However, it appears that the public tend to blame the last Labour Government for the current economic situation rather than the current Coalition Government.
The survey, which questioned 2,019 British adults, found 37% blame the last Labour Government, whereas 16% blame the current Coalition Government and 32% blame both equally.
Chancellor George Osborne insisted that the economy is "healing" as official figures revealed Britain dodged a much-feared triple-dip recession with growth of 0.3% in the first three months of the year.
Economics Editor Richard Edgar reports:
Chancellor George Osborne has welcomed today's figures showing 0.3 percent growth, but added that the economy has a long way to go until it is healthy.
Asked if he would consider easing austerity measures in line with advice from the IMF and others, he said it was important not to change course because Britain risked "losing credibility".
The shadow Chancellor Ed Balls has called today's GDP figures "lacklustre" and accused the Prime Minister and George Osborne of delivering the "slowest recovery for over 100 years".
– Ed Balls, Shadow Chancellor
They [the government] took an economy that was starting to grow strongly, with falling unemployment and a falling deficit, and delivered stagnation, rising unemployment and £245 billion more borrowing than planned ...
If we’re to have a strong and sustained recovery, and catch up all the ground we have lost over the last few years ...
We need radical bank reform and a jobs and growth plan, including building thousands of affordable homes and a compulsory jobs guarantee for the long term unemployed.
This is how the different sectors of the British economy have performed in the first three months of this year:
- Agriculture, forestry and fishing - Fell by 3.7 percent compared with 0.5 percent contraction in the previous quarter.
- Construction - Output decreased by 2.5 percent capping off a 5.9 percent decrease in the year to March 2013.
- Production - Grew by 0.2 percent following a decrease of 2.1 percent in the previous quarter. This growth was driven by mining and quarrying, and electricity supply.
- Services - 0.6 percent growth was the driving force behind the growth in overall GDP. This picture of positive growth was seen across the sector.
In this video, the chief economist at the Office for National Statistics Joe Grice explains the background to today's GDP figures:
The British Chambers of Commerce has said that although the GDP figures are positive, it is too small a sign:
John Longworth, Director General of the BCC, said:
“Although the progress seen in the first quarter of this year is modest, it is progress nonetheless. Business confidence has increased further, and it is really encouraging to see export orders and deliveries near to their record high levels in services.
"But the fact remains that the economy is still not strong enough. The fall in most employment balances is disappointing, and reminds us that a strong labour market cannot be taken for granted."