UK GDP: Row over figures but prospects still look weak

27th April 2011

Labour leader Ed Miliband has condemned what he sees as six months of no growth.  

Prime Minister David Cameron, giving an upbeat assessment, is reported on the Guardian as having demanded an apology from Miliband for talking the economy down and hoping for a double dip recession.

However experts do not see things in black and white, but shades of grey.

Some suggest the economy was definitely flat and that some of the small upturn this quarter came from pent up demand that had been buried under snow in the previous quarter.

Others said that delving into the numbers suggested that the underlying canvass was in better shape than that painted by the headline figures.

No-one's cracking open the champagne though, and it does look like the Government's growth forecasts will not be met.

For those who wish to see what those economists believe, here is the Telegraph's handy run down of the views of a range of them.

Mindful Money's economist blogger Shaun Richards expresses doubt over the validity of the latest figures here.

The BBC's economics editor Stephanie Flanders on her Stephanomics blog suggests that those construction industry figures may be subject to a time lag. If construction is doing a bit better then the actual headline figure may be better too.

Meanwhile, Flanders fellow BBCer Robert Peston writing on his blog Peston's Picks looks at the corporate results stories behind the GDP numbers.

What does he find? Some up, most down, including BP which is still paying for the Mexico oil spill which eroded the huge profits the firm made from the high oil price.  

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