BRITAIN’s economic recovery broadened in the last three months of 2013, driven by a pick-up in business investment and trade that will hearten the Bank of England and the government.
Consumer spending and a turnaround in the housing market have been the main drivers behind Britain’s surprisingly rapid upturn, which started last year.
That upturn may well help Ireland, the European Commission said earlier this week.
The booming UK economy will give an important boost to Irish growth, employment and the current-account position, the Commission added, as it launched its latest report on the European economy.
Yesterday’s UK data suggested a more balanced recovery may be building, little more than a year before a general election.
Gross domestic product rose by 0.7pc in the fourth quarter, the Office for National Statistics said, unrevised from an earlier estimate and in line with forecasts.
That capped off the fastest rate of full-year growth since the financial crisis.
“This provides some hope that the recovery is gaining breadth even if, as we expect, overall growth slows during the course of this year,” Deutsche Bank economist George Buckley said.
Sterling rose against the dollar to a session high above $1.67 after the data.
Business investment rose 8.5pc in the fourth quarter compared with a year earlier, the fastest upturn since the first quarter of 2012. Household spending rose 0.4pc on the quarter. Net trade also contributed strongly to growth.
Britain’s Treasury highlighted the growth in business investment, saying it was a sign that the government’s economic plan was working.