The UK economy grew by 0.5% in the last quarter of 2015, boosted by positive services sector figures.
The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) edged up in the three months compared to the quarter before, largely in line with market expectations. The surging services sector in the UK was the motor behind the growth while both construction and industrial production contracted in the quarter.
The country's economy grew by 1.9% in the third quarter compared to the same period in 2014, its slowest pace since the beginning of 2013. The annual GDP growth added up to 2.2% in 2015, well below the 2.9% increase reported in 2014.
The services sector grew by 0.7% between October and December compared to July to September. The construction and industrial production sectors contracted by -0.1% and -0.2% respectively. The manufacturing industry was flat, while the agriculture sector grew by 0.6%.
Chancellor George Osborne said that the latest numbers show that the UK "continues to grow steadily and despite turbulence in [the] global economy, we're pushing ahead".
In the Autumn Budget and Spending Review in November 2015, the chancellor announced the UK government is doubling its housing budget to £2bn. Although the move has been criticised as trivial, it is expected to boost construction.
"The economic recovery rebuilt a little momentum in the fourth quarter, but narrowed to become entirely dependent on the services sector," Samuel Tombs, chief UK economics at Pantheon Macro commented. "The tighter stance of fiscal policy, sterling's continued uncompetitiveness and the lack of slack in the labour market will all impede growth, leading us to expect GDP to rise by just 1.5% in 2016."