World, Europe

UK economy flatlines ahead of Brexit-dominated election

Economy not grow in October after 2 months of contraction, its worst 3 months since 2009

Karim El-Bar   | 10.12.2019
UK economy flatlines ahead of Brexit-dominated election

LONDON

Data from the U.K.’s Office for National Statistics showed that the British economy has failed to grow and flatlined, with two days until Election Day.

The economy did not grow in October, and was preceded by two months of contraction, making the last three months the worst period of economic activity since the financial crisis a decade ago. Year-on-year GDP growth in October was 0.7%, the worst since 2012.

From August to October, manufacturing fell 0.7% and construction by 0.3%. The service sector did expand, but only by 0.2%.

"The UK economy saw no growth in the latest three months. There were increases across the services sector, offset by falls in manufacturing with factories continuing the weak performance seen since April. Construction also declined across the last three months with a notable drop in house building and infrastructure in October," the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

Experts blamed Brexit, and said it might push the Bank of England to cut interest rates.

"The sharp contraction in construction activity is a reminder that the global slowdown and Brexit uncertainties continue to blight UK growth," Debapratim De, who works as an economist for Deloitte, told Sky.

Jack Leslie, an economic analyst for the Resolution Foundation, told the Independent: “The UK economy has slowed from a crawl to a halt over the course of 2019. Crucially the UK’s domestic challenges come against a weak global economic outlook for next year.

Labour shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said: “We can look forward to five more years of economic failure and stagnation if the Conservatives win the election.”

The ruling Conservatives have said the only way to revive the economy and move the country forward is to finish the implementation of Brexit, which they accuse opposition parties of stymieing.

The ONS also released data showing Britain’s trade deficit increasing from £11.5 billion in September to £14.5 billion in October.

The U.K. is due to go to the polls Dec 12.

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