As expected the second estimate of the United Kingdom's first quarter GDP growth remained unchanged by the Office for National Statistics.

The initial estimate for the quarter said that GDP growth was 0.5 per cent, a figure trumpeted at the time by the Prime Minister, David Cameron.

However the Leader of the Opposition, Ed Miliband, pointed out that the first quarter growth of 0.5 per cent came after a 0.5 per cent contraction in the fourth quarter of 2010, meaning that there had effectively been now economic growth in the six months from October 2010 to March 2011.

The news that the ONS kept its second estimate for the first quarter at 0.5 per cent growth was seen as "disappointing" by those who had hoped for even a modest upward revision.

Howard Archer, Chief Economist at HIS Global Insight, commented, "Disappointingly, there was no upward revision to the economy's pretty feeble performance in the first quarter. Furthermore, the breakdown of the data on the expenditure side revealed some unappetizing developments. There was a worrying slump in consumer spending. And just as worryingly business investment fell sharply. There was some very welcome news though with net trade finally making a strong positive contribution to growth as exports achieved decent growth and imports fell.

"Overall, the data maintain concerns over the underlying strength of the economy and its ability to withstand the fiscal tightening that increasingly kicked in from April."