United Kingdom economy grew less quickly than first estimated in 2016

GETTYBritain's economy grew by 0.7 per cent at the end of 2016

Previously the Office for National Statistics had estimated growth of 0.6 per cent for the three months, but today it said the economy had expanded at a rate of 0.7 per cent.

The ONS added the growth in 2016 is 1.8% higher than that in 2015, a 0.2 percentage points downward revision from the preliminary estimate.

The figures are likely to reinforce finance minister Philip Hammond's view that there is no case right now to borrow more to help the economy when he announces his annual budget on March 8.

Nancy Curtin, chief investment officer at Close Brothers Asset Management, said the lower pound acted as a shock absorber, but warned that uncertainty "lies on the horizon".

Business investment fell a year ago and slowing household spending growth raised questions about the outlook for 2017.

Industrial output grew by 0.3%, up from a previous estimate of no growth, while construction growth was revised up to 0.2% from 0.1%.

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"Overall, the dominant services sector continued to grow steadily, due in part to continued growth in consumer spending, although retail showed some signs of weakness in the last couple of months of 2016, which has continued into January 2017".

"The UK economy needs another driver if it is not to have a significant slowdown in 2017", he said.

This in turn, he said, reduces incentives for increased business investment and hiring in consumer-focused sectors. In the third quarter, growth was 0.6 percent. Firms are expected to decrease their investment plans as Britain negotiates its departure from the EU.

The outlook for wages is key for spending by households who have driven Britain's economy since the Brexit vote.

The latest figure comes after the ONS cut its growth estimate for 2016 as a whole to 1.8 percent, down from an original forecast of 2 percent.

Mr Hawksworth expected a slowdown in United Kingdom growth this year, predicting a fall to around 1.5 per cent as higher inflation bites into consumer spending power.

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