The ONS (Office for National Statistics) reported that the growth in 2018 was 1.4% down from 1.8% in 2017. Even more worryingly this is the lowest rate since 2012.
According to the ONS, quarterly growth also slowed, falling to 0.2% in the three months to December – down from 0.6% in the three months to September.
A decline in car production and factory output were some of the main factors that caused the slower growth.
Head of GDP at the ONS Rob Kent-Smith said: “GDP slowed in the last three months of the year with the manufacturing of cars and steel products seeing steep falls and construction also declining.
“However, services continued to grow with the health sector, management consultants and IT all doing well.”
John McDonnell MP, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, responding to the latest GDP figures, said:
“The evidence is mounting that the combination of the Government’s shambolic handling of Brexit and nine years of austerity is causing real damage to our economy.
“Business investment has been falling for months now, as uncertainty and the fear of No Deal cause immediate damage to confidence.
“Six consecutive months of decline for the manufacturing sector hasn’t happened since 2009.
“The Government must act now to take No Deal off the table and Philip Hammond must use his Spring Statement to end the disastrous austerity policy which has done so much to damage the economy.”
Despite these worrying indicators of the health of the UK economy Philip Hammond, the chancellor, said the latest figures showed that Britain’s economy remained in a strong position.
Hammond said: “The UK is currently enjoying the longest unbroken quarterly growth streak of any G7 nation.”
Last week the Bank of England cut its forecast for growth this year by 0.5 percentage points to 1.2 percent, which would be the weakest year since the 2009 recession.