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Economic growth rate slows to 0.3%

UK economic growth fell to 0.3% in the first quarter of this year, the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have revealed.

The estimated figure of 0.3% GDP for Quarter 1 2015 compares with 0.6% growth in the final quarter of 2014.

While output increased in the services sector by 0.5% during the first quarter of 2015, output in the other three main industrial groupings fell, with construction output decreasing by 1.6%.

The news follows a series of recent economic pledges made by the main political parties, in the run-up to the General Election.

However, in its analysis of the fiscal plans of the four main parties (Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats and the SNP), the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has branded them as lacking in ‘anything like full details’ regarding the likely nature of any necessary spending cuts and tax increases.

According to the IFS, Conservative plans involve a significantly larger reduction in borrowing and debt than those put forward by Labour, but the plans are ‘predicated on substantial and almost entirely unspecified’ spending cuts and tax increases.

The IFS concludes that ‘Unfortunately, the electorate is at best armed with only an incomplete picture of what they can expect from any of these four parties’.