Rush to meet original Brexit deadline spurred UK GDP growth acceleration
UK economic growth accelerated in the first quarter of this year, driven by the highest quarterly pick- up in manufacturing since the 1980s as the original Brexit deadline loomed.
Gross domestic pr o duct ( GDP) growth rose to 0.5 per cent bet ween Januar y and March, according to the Office for National Statistics ( ONS).
This compares to 0.2 per cent growth in the previous quarter when car manufacturing declined at its steepest rate in just under a decade.
In comparison with the same quarter a year ago, GDP was up 1.8 per cent.
P r o d u c t i o n o u t p u t increased by 1.4 per cent in the quarter.
This was boosted by a 2.2 per cent rise in manufacturing – the industry’s highest output since the third quarter of 1988.
The ONS noted many manufacturers had delivered orders early, i ndicating a rush of activity as companies cleared out the order books in advance of the 29 March Brexit deadline.
Pharmaceuticals in particular showed high activity, growing 9.4 per cent.
Inventories were also a contributing factor as some businesses stockpiled parts due to concerns over supply disruption if the UK crashed out of the EU without a deal.