Commenting on the preliminary GDP figures for Q1 2008, published today by the ONS, David Kern, Economic Adviser to the British Chambers of Commerce, said:

"Today's figures confirm the marked slowdown in economic activity in the early months of this year. Quarterly GDP growth was 0.4% in Q1, down from 0.6% in Q4, while year on year GDP growth was down from 2.8% in Q4 to 2.5% in Q1.

"The figures are broadly in line with initial expectations but have disappointed more recent hopes that growth would be 0.5%. This information confirms the gloomy messages indicated by the BCC's quarterly economic survey, published last month.

"There has been a slowdown across most areas of the economy; in production, services and construction. Whilst the new figures do not signal a recession, they highlight the need for corrective action to ensure that the credit crunch and the squeeze on consumer spending do not worsen the downward pressures on the economy. We continue to urge the MPC to announce a modest cut in interest rates to 4.75% in May."