The UK narrowly avoided entering a recession at the end of last year, official figures reveal, after economic growth was flat in the final three months of 2022.
However, the economy did contract in December, as feared – by 0.5% – following a growth figure of 0.1% in November and 0.55% in October.
Negative growth in the fourth quarter would have signalled recession, after the economy shrank by 0.3% in the third quarter, according to the figures from the Office for National Statistics. A technical recession is generally defined as two consecutive quarters of negative growth.
With the cost of living crisis eating into household spending power and many small businesses struggling to stay afloat, few economists expected a strong performance in the run-up to the festive season.
Bank of England policymakers said in their latest outlook for the UK economy that they expected GDP to grow by 0.1% in the final three months of 2022.