Consumer spending boosts growth of UK economy

Strong consumer spending helped the UK's economy to grow faster than expected at the end of last year.

The economy grew by 0.6% in the October-to-December period, the same rate as in the previous two quarters, according to an initial estimate from the Office for National Statistics reported by BBC.

The figure indicates that the feared economic slowdown following the Brexit vote has not materialised. For 2016 as whole, the economy grew by 2%, down from 2.2% in 2015.

"Strong consumer spending supported the expansion of the dominant services sector," said ONS statistician Darren Morgan.

"Although manufacturing bounced back from a weaker third quarter - both it and construction remained broadly unchanged over the year as a whole."

The quarterly growth figure was slightly better than the 0.5% rate most economists had expected.

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