Britain's GDP growth slows to 0.2 percent

April 23, 2010 at 2:23 PM

LONDON, April 23 (UPI) -- The Office of National Statistics said Friday a preliminary estimate showed Britain's economic growth slowed in the first quarter of 2010.

Britain edged out of a recession in the fourth quarter with growth of 0.4 percent. In the first quarter, ONS pegged growth at 0.2 percent with a figure that is based on 40 percent of the data that goes into the final estimate, issued two months from now.

The issue quickly fed into campaign politics. Prime Minister Gordon Brown said, "So the dangers of the Conservative policy of cutting 10 times this amount -- 6 thousand million pounds -- out of the economy … are as grave as they are misjudged," referring to 600 million pounds or $922 million the 0.2 percent growth added to the gross domestic product, The Times of London reported.

Brown said the proposed budget cuts would be a "death sentence" for thousands of jobs.

Shadow Chancellor George Osborne countered, "That is a reminder that Britain's deep economic problems remain."

"What Britain doesn't need now is a jobs tax that would kill the recovery," he said, referring to a 1 percent raise in national insurance proposed by the Labor party.

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