LONDON: The royal wedding of Prince William and Kate in April was supposed to have catalysed Britain's ailing economy, but official figures released today show that it was one of several events that affected GDP figures adversely.
The Office for National Statistic (ONS) said that growth in the UK economy slowed in the three months to 30 June. GDP grew by only 0.2 per cent in the second quarter, which is down from the 0.5 per cent growth in the previous quarter.
The ONS highlighted a number of special events in the second quarter that may have affected the GDP figures, such as the additional bank holiday for the royal wedding, the wedding itself, the after-effects of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, the first phase of Olympic ticket sales and the record warm weather in April.
During the build-up to the royal wedding, experts claimed that the enthusiasm for the event would have a positive impact on Britain's economy, including from larger than usual entry of tourists.
The ONS estimated that without these events, GDP would have been 0.5 percentage points higher. While chancellor George Osborne said the 0.2 per cent growth was good news, shadow chancellor Ed Balls accused him of choking the recovery.
Osborne said: "The positive news is that the British economy is continuing to grow and is creating jobs. And it is positive news too that at a time of real international instability we are a safe haven in the storm."
But Balls said that the slowdown was a serious problem for the government and said: "These figures show that last year's recovery has been recklessly choked off by George Osborne's VAT rise and spending review," he said".
Balls added: "The economy has effectively flat-lined for nine months and this is very bad news for jobs, living standards, business investment and for getting the deficit down."