Britain has exited recession with the strongest quarterly economic gain in five years, but experts warn of an uneven path to recovery amid a global slowdown and the ongoing European debt crisis.
The Office for National Statistics said the UK economy grew by a full 1 percent in the three months ending in September, the strongest reading since the third quarter of 2007 and a sharp turnaround from the 0.4 percent contraction measured in the previous three-month period, which marked the deepest double-dip recession in a generation.
On an annual basis the economy is unchanged from last year's level of output. In effect, this means growth of just 0.2 precent in the final three months of the year will ensure that Britain avoids a full-year economic contraction.
Breaking down the individual components of growth, the ONS said industrial production rose 1.1 percent on the quarter, the strongest in two years, while the broader services sector advanced by 1.3 percent, the best performance in five years, according to the ONS data.
Construction output, however, remains weak, falling -2.5 percent from an already week -3 precent figure in the second quarter.
Celebrations to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee last quarter hived around 0.5 percent from GDP, according to the ONS, thanks to an extra holiday day in the month of June. The corresponding day's addition on the third quarter added the same amount to total output. Tickets sales and overall business activity related to the London Olympics likely added around 0.2 percent to overall GDP, the ONS said.
Chancellor George Osborne said the data shows the UK economy is on the right track and that weak data from the Eurozone is a reminder of the economic challenges both here and abroad.
Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted: "There is still much to do, but these (growth figures) show we are on the right track and our economy is healing".
Collectively, the figures suggest growth has changed little since the first quarter of this year - or perhaps even longer, according to Bank of England policy maker Paul Fisher, who told a British regional newspaper that "the economy has been basically flat for two years.
"It is kind of flat, but you could either say the glass is half empty or half full and we need to make it fuller," Fisher told the Western Mail newspaper. "I would rather take a more positive approach myself."
The Bank of England will conclude its next two-day meeting to set interest rates on 8 November, and produce a new series of economic forecasts on 14 November. Both are likely to provide detail for analysts and investors as they seek to gauge the Bank's appetite for another round of so-called quantitative easing.
To date the Bank has purchased around £375bn of government debt in an effort to reduce "risk free" interest rates and entice investors into slightly riskier, growth-friendly investments in the private sector.
The Bank's Monetary Policy Committee was split last month on whether to increase the programme, citing concerns about faster-than-expected inflation, but a recent poll conducted by Reuters suggests economists expect the Bank to add one last round of purchases, worth around £50bn, during the November meeting.
Data from various points of the economy has shown marked improvement over the past two months, most notably in the labour market, where unemployment fell to 7.9 percent and the ONS said more Britons were in work than at any other time in history. Inflation has also eased to a three-year low of 2.2 percent while retail sales improved sharply last month thanks to better-than-expected sales linked to the start of the new school year.
The positive data, however, has yet to impact the reputation of Britain's coalition government led by Prime Minister David Cameron, whose approval rating remains depressed thanks to a series of communications missteps and minor scandals.
Just yesterday the Prime Minister caused a stir when he may have inadvertently leaked details of the ONS report to parliament during a spirited debate with Opposition leader Ed Miliband in the House of Commons.
The UK Statistics Authority told IBTimes UK it was "looking into" several reports that suggested the PM may have violated strict embargo rules on important economic data releases when he told the House that "more good news" on the economy was imminent.
"The good news will keep coming," he said during a robust defence of his economic record at Prime Minister's Questions. "It is the Conservatives getting behind growth and jobs."
The UK Statistics Office, set up in 2008, is designed to "promote and safeguard the production and publication of official statistics that serve the public good" according to its website. It is responsible for the oversight of the ONS and the independent scrutiny of all official statistics produced in the United Kingdom.