A bus bearing the words "Brexit to cost £2,000 million a week" drives past a statue of Britain's World War II leader Sir Winston Churchill and the scaffolding covered Elizabeth Tower, which contains the bell known as "Big Ben", of the Houses of Parliament at the start a national campaign tour in central London, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. The anti-Brexit bus on Wednesday started an eight day tour, intending to make 33 stops in towns and cities across Britain, with speaker events featuring local business leaders, trade unionists, and politicians. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

UK growth in 2017 downgraded as consumer spending slows

February 22, 2018 - 4:42 am

LONDON (AP) — Official figures show that the British economy did not grow as strongly as initially anticipated in the final quarter of 2017 amid a slowdown in consumption and business investment.

The Office for National Statistics said Thursday that the British economy expanded by a quarterly rate of 0.4 percent, down from the initial estimate of 0.5 percent.

The downgrade is not huge but confirms that the British economy cooled in 2017, the year after the country voted to leave the European Union. The statistics agency also lowered its 2017 growth estimate to 1.7 percent from the previous 1.8 percent.

Brexit, which is due to happen in March 2019, is still the biggest cloud over the economic horizon this year.

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