Britain's previous two periods of recession

Britain fell into a deep recession five years ago and has endured a bumpy ride ever since, falling at its lowest point to 6% below its peak.

The economy has struggled to recover ever since.

A recession is two or more consecutive quarters of negative national economic growth. A quarter is a period of three months.

Graph showing Britain's GDP figures from 2007 Credit: ONS

The economy shrank for the final three quarters of 2008 and the first two of 2009 as shown in the graph above in the blue bars which dip below the line.

Although the initial recession then came to an end, subsequent growth was sluggish and punctuated by setbacks.

Plunging business investment then triggered the beginning of the second dip at the end of 2011, the start of three successive quarters of decline that stretched into the first half of last year.