From the Conservatives’ point of view the move will come as a welcome reminder to the public that the UK has been the best performing developed economy over recent years.
The ONS said UK gross domestic product increased by 0.6% between quarter 3 and quarter 4 last year, up 0.1 percentage points from estimates. This means GDP growth in 2014 was 2.8%.
GDP per head was estimated to have increased by 0.5% between the third and fourth quarters, and 2.2% between 2013 and 2014.
“This is the fastest annual growth since 2006, and confirms the UK as the fastest-growing of the G7 economies,” said Ben Brettell, senior economist at Hargreaves Lansdown. “This is the latest in a long list of good news stories about the UK economy, which is sure to be a key battleground in the upcoming election.”
“The ONS said the revision was mainly down to stronger household spending and a rise in exports,” he added. “Consumer spending is expected to continue to drive the economy in the coming months, with CPI inflation expected to stay close to zero for the rest of the year meaning a modest rise in real wages. Given the outlook for consumer spending, the Office for Budgetary Responsibility’s forecast of 2.5% for 2015 looks a touch pessimistic, and could come under some upward pressure in the coming months.”
Investec’s economics team said the news reinforces the Chancellor’s ability to state that the UK was the fastest growing advanced economy last year ahead of the May General Election. They added that they maintain the view that 2015 will prove to be a stronger growth year still for the UK economy and are forecasting a 2.9% annual rise in GDP.