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British Jan-March growth slows sharply to 0.3%

Britain’s economy grew far slower than expected in the first quarter of 2015, official data showed on Tuesday, delivering a blow to the government just nine days before a general election.

Gross domestic product expanded by 0.3 per cent between January and March compared with GDP growth of 0.6 per cent in the final quarter of 2014, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in an initial estimate.

Analysts’ consensus had been for a slowdown in growth to only 0.5 per cent in the first quarter, according to Bloomberg News. GDP, the main indicator of economic growth, is the last major piece of data on the British economy before Britain votes in a knife-edge general election on May 7. The ONS said that while output 

increased in services by 0.5 per cent in the first quarter, the other three main industrial groupings in the economy decreased, with construction falling by 1.6 per cent, production by 0.1 per cent and agriculture by 0.2 per cent. 

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