Official estimates suggest strong UK economic growth

In recent days, new official estimates of monthly Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth have been published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), indicating that the UK economy is beginning to warm up this summer after a slow winter period.

The data, which was published earlier this week, suggests that the economy hit a “virtual standstill” back in March, as cold weather conditions caused by the so-called ‘beast from the east’ negatively impacted growth, The Telegraph reports.

However, GDP recovered by 0.2 per cent in April, followed by 0.3 per cent in May, as the warmer weather and the royal wedding helped to boost high street footfall.

During these months, the services sector grew by an impressive 0.4 per cent, while activity among UK law firms and computer programmers also noticeably increased.

Meanwhile, there was a pick-up in consumer spending at restaurants and hotels, while Britons also rushed to splash out on holidays and leisure activities, the ONS’ data reveals.

“Services, in particular, grew robustly in May with retailers enjoying a double boost from the warm weather and the royal wedding. Construction also saw a return to growth after a weak couple of months,” said Rob Kent-Smith, of the ONS.

“Retailing, computer programming and legal services all performed strongly in the three months to May while housebuilding and manufacturing both contracted,” he added.

Following the publication of the new data, economists have been keen to point out that service sector growth is on track to run at a six-quarter high.

Commentators have also noted that, in light of the good news, the Bank of England (BoE) is now very likely to increase interest rates from 0.5 per cent to 0.75 per cent next month.