UK economy contracts less than previously thought

The UK economy shrank by less than previously thought in the last three months of 2010, revised figures show.

Gross domestic product (GDP) slipped by 0.5% in the period, according to fresh data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

A previous revision by the ONS said GDP had fallen 0.6% in the quarter.

The ONS said that output from production industries, which include manufacturing and mining, was higher than previously estimated.

Its initial estimate had suggested the economy had contracted by 0.5% - with heavy snow blamed for the slump.

The ONS said the snow still accounted for the contraction - without it, growth would have been flat.

The 0.5% fall is the largest quarterly contraction since the second quarter of 2009.

The annual rate of growth was unrevised at 1.5% in the latest estimate.

Output from construction industries was revised up, to a contraction of 2.3% from the previous estimate of a 2.5% contraction. Service sector output was also revised up to a 0.6% contraction from a 0.7% contraction.

Household expenditure fell by 0.3% during the quarter, the ONS said.