UK economy shrank at fastest rate in 50 years

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The British recession was much more severe than first thought in the first three months of the year, with the economy suffering its sharpest quarterly contraction in more than 50 years, official figures showed on Tuesday.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the economy actually shrank by 2.4pc in the first quarter compared with the final three months of 2008, much more sharply than its first estimate of 1.9pc.

ONS records show that the last time the British economy contracted by more than 2.4pc was in the second quarter of 1958 when gross domestic product fell by 2.6pc and Harold Macmillan was in Downing Street.

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