UK economic growth slows to 0.4%

The UK's economic growth slowed down in the first three months of 2016. Credit: PA

The UK economy slowed down to 0.4% in the first three months of 2016, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

The figure is down from 0.6% in the fourth quarter of 2015, and follows a slump in the manufacturing and construction industries.

The manufacturing industry fell by 0.4% in the first three months of the year, compared with a 0.1% rise in the previous quarter. Overall production was down 0.4% between January and March.

In the first quarter, the construction industry dropped back, falling 0.9%, compared with a 0.3% increase in the fourth quarter.

Britain's services sector, however, saw a 0.6% rise in the first quarter.

ONS chief economist Joe Grice said: "Today's figures suggest growth has slowed as compared with the pace up to to the middle of last year.

"Services continue to underpin the economy but other sectors have shown falling output this quarter."

Commenting on the GDP figures, Chancellor George Osborne warned that the threat of leaving the EU is "weighing on our economy".

Last week, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said uncertainty about the EU referendum is beginning to hamper UK economic growth.

He told the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee that the risk had the potential to "reinforce existing vulnerabilities in relation to financial stability".