Belfast Telegraph

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Recession worse than first thought

By Jamie Grierson

The double-dip recession is deeper than originally feared as revised figures showed a sharper decline in the economy in the final quarter of last year.

Gross domestic product (GDP) shrank by 0.4% between October and December, compared with a previous estimate of 0.3%, while the economy contracted by an unchanged 0.3% in the first quarter of this year, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

Dr Esmond Birnie, chief economist in Northern Ireland for business advisers PwC, said: "The big picture is that the UK economy has been broadly flat for the past 18 months."

He added: "If that's the case for the UK as a whole, it is likely that Northern Ireland is in recession territory, suggesting that 2012 will show no growth at best.

"That begs the question as to how the Executive can stimulate private-sector activity while under (huge) pressure to curtail public spending even further."

The downward revision will fuel criticism that Chancellor George Osborne's austerity measures are choking off the recovery.


From Belfast Telegraph