Britain’s economy slowed drastically in late 2018, registering the weakest level of growth in six years, according to the UK’s Office for National Statistics.
Growth in 2018 dropped to its lowest since 2012 at 1.4 percent, down from 1.8 percent in 2017.
The pace of economic growth fell to a quarterly rate of 0.2 percent between October and December from 0.6 percent in the previous quarter, while output in December alone dropped by the most since 2016, contracting by 0.4 percent.
Consumers and businesses are growing increasingly concerned about the lack of a plan for when Britain is due to leave the European Union on 29th March.
While Brexit presents an added challenge for the UK, major economies around the world also slowed in late 2018, due in part to trade tensions between the United States and China.
Finance Minister Philip Hammond said the data showed the economy remained “fundamentally strong” and that public-sector forecasters did not foresee a recession.
Meanwhile, Trade Minister Liam Fox said that Britain’s economic slowdown should not be blamed entirely on Brexit.
“Clearly there are those who believe that Brexit is the only economic factor applying to the UK economy. I think you’ll find that the predicted slowdown in a number of European economies is not disconnected from the slowdown, for example, in China,” Mr Fox told a news conference.