25 July 2012 10:11
Britain's longest double-dip recession for more than 50 years will be confirmed in official figures out today.
Gross domestic product (GDP) is forecast to have shrunk by around 0.2% between April and June; its third quarter in a row of contraction and will herald the longest double-dip recession since quarterly records began in 1955 and is believed to be the worst since the Second World War.
The last double-dip recession was in the 1970s, when the economy was struck by soaring oil prices and a miners' strike, but that only lasted two quarters.
The latest decline may be blamed on the extra bank holiday surrounding the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and record rainfall in April and June.
Recent estimates from the Bank of England said the celebrations could wipe up to 0.5% from output, while its governor Sir Mervyn King has warned the special events including the Jubilee and the Olympics will skew figures this year.
Today's figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) will be a preliminary estimate and be subject to revision.
The economy entered a technical recession in the first quarter of the year, with GDP declining 0.3%, following a 0.4% drop in the final quarter of 2011.
This followed its five quarters in a row of falls in 2008 and 2009 from which the economy has not fully recovered.
However, the ONS's figures have been called into question in recent months because they are at odds with more upbeat industry surveys and improving employment figures.
Some economists have even suggested that the UK may not be back in recession at all and have voiced fears that gloomy official figures may be hitting confidence.
The Olympics, which kick off with the opening ceremony on Friday, should benefit the economy through ticket sales, retail trade, temporary employment, tourism and lifting consumer confidence.