UK economy edges up 0.3%

<p>The UK economy has halved to its slowest growth for two years.</p>

The UK economy has edged up by 0.3 per cent during the past quarter, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

It is a slight drop on the 0.6 per cent in the last three months of 2014, which officials have stated is the slowest quarterly growth for two years. However, analysts believe that this drop could simply be a "temporary" measure as the UK gears up for the general election which is only eight days away.

ONS figures revealed the economy to be 2.4 per cent larger compared to the same period a year earlier while there was growth of 0.5 per cent the services industry. However, this boost was offset by a 1.6 per cent fall in the pace of economic output in construction.

Joe Grice, ONS chief economist, 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 per cent.

"In addition, there has been a further fall in construction output that itself takes around 0.1 per cent off the GDP growth rate. But, as always, we warn against reading too much into one quarter's figures."

Election pledges

With Britons going to the polls on May 7th, the political parties have been ramping up the campaign trail. The Conservatives announced today that should it form the next government it will introduce a law guaranteeing a halt on rises in income tax rates, VAT or national insurance before 2020.

While the Tories want to put in force this legislation during the first 100 days of government, Labour described the pledge as a "gimmick". The opposition also added that it expected VAT rates to rise.

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