The UK economy contracted by 0.2% in the last three months of 2011, official figures show.
The figure is the first estimate of the UK 's GDP from the fourth quarter of last year, and could be revised up or down as more relevant data becomes available to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
A 0.2% fall was slightly more pronounced than economists had predicted, although it could not prevent the UK from registering growth across the whole of 2011, although the 0.9% expansion reflects a slow and unsure recovery.
The Government came under attack over the figures at an ill-tempered Prime Minister's Questions at noon today, with Labour leader Ed Milliband accusing the coalition of total arrogance and complacency over the economy.
Prime Minister David Cameron admitted the figures were disappointing, but cited the large deficit left by the previous administration, tight household budgets and problems across the eurozone for the drop in GDP.
He added that Labour's economic policy to borrow more would have left the UK in an even worse position.
It is the first time for a year that the UK economy has not registered quarterly growth; freezing weather was to blame in the fourth quarter of 2010 when a fall of 0.5% was recorded by the ONS.
During the last quarter, the construction sector saw output fall by 0.5%, while the services industry saw no change, and manufacturing output fell by 0.9%.
The ONS said the public sector strike which took place on 30 November 'is likely' to have had an adverse effect on UK GDP, but it was not possible to measure to what extent.
Find the best financial information for you -Compare Financial Solutions
Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.
Moneyfacts.co.uk will, like most other websites, place cookies onto your computer’s
hard drive. This includes tracking cookies.