London, April 28 (IANS) The UK economy grew by just 0.3 per cent at the start of this year, the slowest growth rate since the first three months of 2016, according to official figures released on Friday.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that the slower pace in the January-March period was mainly due to the service sector, which also grew by 0.3 per cent against 0.8 per cent at the end of 2016, the BBC reported.
In the last quarter of 2016, gross domestic product increased by 0.7 per cent.
Friday's figure is a first estimate and could be revised in the coming months.
Economists had been expecting GDP growth to slow as consumers tightened their belts in the face of rising inflation, but they had pencilled in a higher figure of 0.4 per cent.
The ONS said: "There were falls in several important consumer-focused industries, such as retail sales and accommodation; this was due in part to prices increasing more than spending."