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Economists warn of a 'triple dip' recession for the UK

By Hamish Champ
Posted 7 December 2012

The state of UK manufacturing was laid bare today with new figures suggesting the country could be heading towards a third recession and its triple-A credit rating is under threat.

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed the seasonally adjusted production index fell by 3% in October, compared with the same month last year.

And the manufacturing index slid by 2.1% in the same month.

The ONS said manufacture of plastics and rubber products in the UK fell by 9.2%, while chemicals and chemical products manufacturing dipped 9.4%.

The figures mean that factory output is at its lowest since June this year.

Alan Clarke, an economist at Scotiabank told the Reuters news agency: “Very disappointing; triple dip here we come.

"Manufacturing was diabolical. Sadly, I think there is not a lot to suggest that it is temporary,” he added.

Chris Williamson, an economist at research outfit Markit, expressed concern that “any new [economic] downturn will ... put further pressure on the UK's triple-A credit rating”.

The ONS data came as the Institute for Fiscal Studies warned that a further £27bn-worth of cuts to public spending would be required in the coming years if other areas, such as the NHS and schools, were to have spending maintained in real terms.

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