A statement from the Treasury said that the contraction in the economy in the fourth quarter of 2012 was expected:
It confirms what we already knew - that Britain, like many European countries, still faces a very difficult economic situation.
It underlines what the Chancellor said at the Autumn Statement and the Governor of the Bank of England said this week: while the economy is healing, it is a difficult road.
While today's data confirms the scale of the challenge facing the British economy, this week has also seen the strongest yearly increase in jobs for over 20 years. A million new private sector jobs have been created and the deficit is down by a quarter.
Business leaders at the World Economic Forum cautioned against complacency amid optimism that the eurozone is emerging from its crisis.
The Chancellor blames GDP figures on the crisis he inherited, and troubles abroad. As criticism mounts, his position becomes more difficult.
Unusually frank words for the government from one of the City's top economists on today's dismal GDP figures.