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Britain’s economy is picking up pace but not at the rate predicted by economists.

The latest figures released by the Office for National Statistics show GDP expanded 0.8% in the first quarter of 2014 after 0.7% growth in the final three months of last year. That was 0.1% below economists’ expectations, according to the consensus in a Reuters poll.

The year-on-year growth rate was 3.1%, the fastest in six years, but again fell below forecasts for 3.2% growth.

Chancellor George Osborne said:

“Today’s figures show that Britain is coming back – but we can’t take that for granted. We have to carry on working through our long term economic plan.

“The impact of the great recession is still being felt, but the foundations for a broad based recovery are now in place.”

The largest contribution to Q1 growth came from services which grew by 0.9%. The construction sector grew by 0.3% and manufacturing by 1.3%.

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The report said the UK economy still remains 0.6% below its pre-crisis peak. Without the drag from a shrinking oil and gas sector the economy was 0.3% bigger than that pre-crisis peak, statisticians added. This is positive news for most industries but more needs to be done to support growth across all sectors.

Photo by c_ambler