Double-dip recession could be wiped

BuildingBritain's double-dip recession could be wiped from the records when the latest official figures on the economy are released.

Economists believe the second successive recession at the end of 2011 and first half of 2012 may be erased when the Office for National Statistics (ONS) publishes its third and final figures for the first quarter of 2013, including revisions to previous data.
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Until now, Britain is believed to have fallen into recession for a nine-month period to the middle of 2012 following on from the deep recession of 2008 to 2009. A recession is technically classed as two consecutive quarters of negative growth.

But a stronger-than-reported performance from the UK's construction sector during the first quarter of 2012 has raised doubts that the second dip into recession ever actually happened.

Gross domestic product (GDP) dropped by a marginal 0.1% in the last quarter of 2011, followed by the same figure for the start of 2012, although in the second quarter it was a fall of 0.4% as output was hit by an extra holiday for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

Data from the ONS in May showed that the construction sector did not fare quite as badly in the first quarter of 2012 as previously believed.

Instead of output declining by 5.4%, it fell by 5%, according to the figures, which could be enough to revise overall GDP to 0% in the first quarter of 2012, interrupting the run of three consecutive declines and therefore revising away the double dip.

But IHS Global Insight chief UK and European economist Howard Archer said: "In reality, it makes little difference whether the economy grew marginally, contracted marginally or was flat over a quarter or a couple of quarters. It is the overall picture that is important."

The ONS figures are also expected to confirm that the UK economy grew by 0.3% in the first three months of the year, which brought Britain back from the brink of a further recession following a contraction of 0.3% at the end of 2012. The economy is expected to expand by around 0.5% in the second quarter amid growing signs of economic optimism.

Chancellor George Osborne last week said the British economy is "healing" at his annual Mansion House speech in the City of London. He said: "We are moving from rescue to recovery. But while Britain has left intensive care, we still need to secure the recovery."

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Where are Britain's highest tax bills?
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Double-dip recession could be wiped
St Albans come in second on the list with a total income tax bill of £10,900 per person.
Windsor and Maidenhead came third with a total income tax bill of £10,200 per person.
The Surrey town of Guildford was fourth on the list with a total income tax bill of £9,830 per person.
England's capital city came fifth with a total income tax bill of £8,580 per person.
Wokingham has a total income tax bill of £7,490 per person. Putting it in sixth place.
Dacorum in Hertfordshire comes in joint sixth place with a total income tax bill of £7,490 per person.
The leafy towns of Reigate and Banstead have a total income tax bill of £7,000 per person.
Tonbridge and Malling take joint seventh spot with a total income tax bill of £7,000 per person.
Wycombe comes last in the top ten with a total income tax bill of £6,820 per person.

A small corner of leafy Surrey has taken the top spot in the league table of the highest income tax bills per person. Residents of Elmbridge pay an astonishing £1.18 billion in income tax every year. That puts a number of the major cities in the shade.
The leafy towns of Esher, Weybridge and Walton-on-Thames are filled with mansions, private estates, country clubs, golf courses, and riversides packed with millionaires. The proximity of Chelsea's training ground in Cobham has also brought well-paid sportsmen to the area.

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