“Hopes that the preliminary GDP figures would be revised up have been proved unfounded.
“These figures confirm that manufacturing and construction have experienced particularly sharp declines, signalling long-term risks to the UK’s skills base. The fall in business investment underlines a danger that British industry will lack the potential to respond to an increase in demand when the recession ends.
“The lowering of the UK’s credit rating outlook, and this week’s comments from the IMF, are timely reminders that the government must address the medium-term risks facing the country’s finances. However, while the downturn continues policy must remain expansionary.”