The UK economy grew by 1.8 per cent in 2016, the Office for National Statistics has confirmed, despite slightly lower than expected year on year growth in the fourth quarter.

Economic output in the fourth quarter was 1.9 per cent greater than the same quarter last year, down from earlier estimates of 2 per cent.

However, the country’s quarter on quarter growth rate and annual growth rate for the whole of 2016 remained in line with previous readings, at 0.7 per cent and 1.8 per cent respectively.

Growth over the year was driven by strong consumer spending, while business investment declined. Net exports were the biggest drivers of quarter on quarter growth at the end of the year, but still made a negative contribution to the year on year growth figures.

Darren Morgan, head of GDP at the ONS, said “the long term picture is still one of robust growth” despite a slight slowdown in services since the start of the year, though the ONS release stressed that rising inflation is “putting downward pressure on real wages and incomes”.

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