Doubts remain despite 1% growth

Doubts over the strength of the UK's recovery are persisting despite figures showing an end to the longest double-dip recession since 1950.

Output jumped by 1% between July and September but the fastest growth for five years was flattered by the effect of the Olympic Games and a bounce back from the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations in the previous quarter.

As car giant Ford announced 1,400 job losses and the closure of two UK sites, Chancellor George Osborne said that the UK was on the right track but there was "still a long way to go".

The UK has been battling against sluggish consumer spending, Government cuts and high unemployment, while the struggling eurozone has hit exports.

While the third quarter beat expectations and grew at the fastest pace since the third quarter of 2007, the economy is still 3.1% below its peak in the first quarter of 2008.

Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at IHS Global Insight, said the economy is "far from out of the woods" and added it was "premature for the Chancellor to contemplate singing in his bathtub".

The third quarter had one more working day than the previous quarter, due to the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, which would have affected the estimate, the ONS said.

Olympic ticket sales increased GDP growth in the period by 0.2 percentage points, while the event is likely to have lifted a range of other services including employment agencies, creative arts, office administration, accommodation and food and beverages.

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls welcomed the economy's emergence from recession but said the Government needed to do more to "secure and strengthen" growth.

He said: "Today's figures show that underlying growth remains weak and that our economy is only just back to the same size as a year ago - 12 months of damaging flatlining which has seen borrowing rise in the first half of this year."