London: After yesterday's preliminary second quarter UK GDP figures from the Office of National Statistics- which showed a calamitous 0.7 percent drop in economic activity, signalling the worst double-dip recession for fifty years — KPMG Chief Economist, Andrew Smith, asks if it is time for Plan B (and no, not the rapper):
"If there was still any doubt about it, this pretty much puts the kibosh on the Budget forecast of a 0.8 percent rise in GDP in 2012.
"Admittedly, the figures may be distorted by special factors such as the Jubilee holiday and the bad weather impacting on construction activity.
"And, more generally, the discussion about the accuracy of the weak GDP data in light of stronger counter-indicators, such as the relative firmness of the labour market, continues.
"But absent a radical upward revision, today's figures leave the economy on track for a fall in output over the year as a whole.
"The big picture cannot be described as anything but bleak. Overall, output has gone nowhere for the past two years and remains some 4 percent below its previous peak.
"And the economy is currently contracting, rather than recovering. Plan B, anybody?"