The rate of economic growth continues to slow in the UK, official figures from the the Office of National Statistics (ONS) shows.
The economy grew by 0.3% in the first quarter of 2015, down from 0.6% in the last three months of 2014, and 0.7% three months earlier.
Output increased in services by 0.5% in January to March 2015, but this growth was offset with construction falling by 1.6%, production by 0.1%, and agriculture by 0.2%.
The ONS said that the economy was 2.4% larger than the same period last year.
ONS chief economist Joe Grice said:
“The economy expanded a little more slowly in the first quarter of 2015 than we’ve seen in the past two years and that’s largely due to the services sector, where growth has eased to 0.5%.
“In addition, there has been a further fall in construction output that itself takes around 0.1% off the GDP growth rate. But, as always, we warn against reading too much into one quarter’s figures.”
The lower than expected figures will be a blow to the economic profiles of the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats who have campaigned on the claim that the economy has been brought back on track under their stewardship.
On Twitter, chancellor George Osborne attempted to claim that the 0.3% growth was still good news for the economy.
“GDP up 0.3%, 2.4% on year. Good news economy continues to grow but this is a critical moment & reminder you can’t take recovery for granted.
“GDP figures show future of the economy is on the ballot paper. We should stick to the plan that’s delivering a brighter more secure future.”