...By Solomon Thomas for TDPel Media.
The UK economy remained flat in February due to the impact of public sector strikes.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that GDP held its level over the month, with activity in education and government falling due to industrial action.
However, this was offset by growth in the construction sector and a slight upward revision of January growth from 0.3% to 0.4%.
ONS Director of Economic Statistics, Darren Morgan, said that increased repair work and a boost in retailing contributed to the growth in construction, but the strike action and unseasonably mild weather resulted in a decrease in the use of electricity and gas.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt took a swipe at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which has predicted a gloomy outlook for the UK economy.
Hunt said that the country is on track to avoid recession, and the outlook was brighter than expected.
He added that the government’s massive package of cost-of-living support for families and radical reforms to boost jobs and business investment were paying off.
The UK economy’s performance in February indicates the impact of public sector strikes on the overall growth rate.
The construction sector, however, performed strongly, thereby helping to offset the negative effect of strikes on education and government activities.
The Chancellor’s optimistic view of the economy suggests that the government’s policies to support families and businesses are working.
The IMF’s pessimistic outlook is based on factors such as Brexit uncertainty and sluggish global growth, but Hunt’s confidence indicates that he believes the UK can overcome these challenges.
The ONS data, coupled with the Chancellor’s positive statements, will provide some reassurance to businesses and investors who are looking for stability and certainty in the UK economy.