Rush to meet orig­i­nal Brexit dead­line spurred UK GDP growth ac­cel­er­a­tion

The Scotsman - - NEWS DIGEST - By AN­GUS HOWARTH

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.

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