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The UK economy grows by 0.4% in the second quarter

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Britain’s economy has rebounded and growth has picked up as the sunny weather has helped boost construction and shopping figures, it was today revealed.

The UK’s GDP grew by 0.4 per cent in the second quarter of the year – far higher than the 0.2 per cent the quarter before when snow and frost slowed building rates. 

The figures were welcomed  by Chancellor Philip Hammond, who has come under growing pressure to turn on the public spending taps after years of austerity.

He today announced £780million to boost innovation and technology in the UK.

The figures, released by the Office for national statistics (ONS) today, come as Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley bought House of Fraser – saving the retailer from administration.

The controversial billionaire – who has always wanted to own a department store – bought the ailing retailer for £90 million in a deal which has rescued many jobs. 

The UK's GDP grew by 0.4 per cent in the second quarter of the year - far higher than the 0.2 per cent the quarter before when snow and frost slowed building rates.

The UK’s GDP grew by 0.4 per cent in the second quarter of the year – far higher than the 0.2 per cent the quarter before when snow and frost slowed building rates.

The ONS’s head of national accounts Rob Kent Smith said:  ‘The economy picked up a little in the second quarter with both retail sales and construction helped by the good weather and rebounding from the effects of the snow earlier in the year. 

‘However, manufacturing continued to fall back from its high point at the end of last year and underlying growth remained modest by historical standards.

‘The UK’s trade deficit noticeably worsened as exports of cars and planes declined sharply while imports rose.’ 

The figures show that Britain’s services and construction industry are powering the growth – increasing by 0.5 per cent and 0.9 per cent respectively.

Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley buys parts of House of Fraser in rescue deal

Billionaire Mike Ashley bought parts of House of Fraser in a dramatic rescue deal this morning.

The well-known retailer announce this morning that it was calling in the administrators – putting 17,000 jobs at risk. 

But the  Sports Direct boss swooped in to buy parts of it.

It remains unclear  how many jobs will be saved by the deal.

is reportedly plotting to buy it hours later.

Mr Ashley has previously said he dreamed of owning a UK department store. 

House of Fraser was plunged into crisis after C.banner, the Chinese owner of Hamleys, pulled its investment into the troubled retail chain.

C.banner was planning to buy a 51 per cent stake in House of Fraser and plough £70million into the ailing retailer, but scrapped the move last week.  

While business investment increased by 0.5 per cent – showing that despite the dire warnings about the possibility of a no deal Brexit, firms still have confidence in the UK.

But there is gloomy news on the UK’s manufacturing sector as production fell by 0.8 per cent. 

And the trade deficit widened by £4.7 billion.

     Mr Hammond said: ‘We are working hard to build a stronger, fairer economy – dealing with the deficit, helping people into work, and cutting taxes for individuals and businesses. 

‘Unemployment is at its lowest since the 1970s, our national debt is starting to fall, and the economy has grown every year since 2010.

‘It is by backing innovative British companies to grow and create jobs that we will continue this progress and build an economy fit for the future. 

‘Today’s £780 million investment will support innovators across the country to create the technologies of the future, and the better, highly-paid jobs we urgently need.’ 

The figures come after a dramatic morning for the high street as House of Fraser announced it was calling in the administrators – but Mr Ashley swooped in to buy parts of it.

But it remains unclear how many of the 17,000 jobs that were at risk will be saved by the deal. 

The agreement was struck after the well known retailer was  plunged into fresh crisis after C.banner, the Chinese owner of Hamleys, pulled its investment into the troubled retail chain.  

John McDonnell MP, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, commenting on the latest GDP figures, said:

‘More than eight years of unnecessary ideologically-driven austerity has created an economy unable to cope with the instability brought about by the Tories’ mismanagement of the Brexit negotiations. The result is low growth and stagnant pay.

‘Growth is anaemic, councils are going bankrupt and the NHS is now in permanent crisis while holidaymakers are being hit by the Tories’ falling pound.

‘Labour will bring stability to the economy and rising living standards with long term stable planning and investment and by securing a Brexit deal that puts jobs and the economy first.’

House of Fraser's flagship store in Oxford Street (pictured) was one of those set for closure before news of the rescue deal was announced this morning 

House of Fraser's flagship store in Oxford Street (pictured) was one of those set for closure before news of the rescue deal was announced this morning 

House of Fraser’s flagship store in Oxford Street (pictured) was one of those set for closure before news of the rescue deal was announced this morning 

Decline of the High Street: The retailers struggling to stay afloat as online rivals take their customers

Toys R Us: The toy chain went into administration on the last day of February after failing to find a third-party buyer. In February, HMRC sought to recover £15 million in unpaid VAT and this finally tipped the company into administration.

Maplin: One of the UK’s biggest electronics retailers collapsed into administration on the same day as Toys R Us after talks with buyers failed to secure a sale. The business faced the slump in the pound after the Brexit vote, weak consumer confidence and a withdrawal of credit insurance.

Conviviality Retailing: The major drinks and off-licence supplier that owns Wine Rack and Bargain Booze went into administration in early April. The company had grown too quickly by merger, there were a series of profit warnings and a £30 million tax bill for which Conviviality was forced to ask for extra funds from investors – who refused.

Warren Evans: The bed, mattress and furniture retailers in London and the South East went into administration one week after putting itself up for sale. The retailer, known for its ethical stance, had been losing money for some time under the pressure of rising costs and shrinking customer spending.

Calvetron: The owner of Jacques Vert, Windsmoor, Dash and Eastex fashion brands that ran about 300 UK concessions in stores including Debenhams and House of Fraser, went into administration at the start of May. Bosses said inflation and wage freezes had been a driving force behind decreased spending.

Juice Corporation: The firm behind fashion brand Joe Bloggs and the retailer that designed the wedding dress for Diana, Princess of Wales, collapsed into administration in January. Although the group made profits, it had failed to make inroads into the fashion market.

Mothercare: The ailing baby goods and maternity retailer has proposed to close 50 stores as part of a planned turnaround for the company. It said losses were driven by the costs of 17 store closures last year, onerous leases and a head office restructure which resulted in 190 job cuts.

Carpetright: The embattled flooring firm is embarking on a store closure programme and has begun efforts to raise £60 million in emergency funding as it pushes through a restructuring after announcing it was expecting to book a full-year underlying pre-tax loss of between £7 million and £9 million.

Carluccio’s: The upmarket deli chain has unveiled a restructuring plan that will likely lead to 34 restaurant closures as it cited a combination of a gradual decline in consumer spending and increasing competition, coupled with the rising costs of labour, raw materials, rent and business rates.

Other restaurants that have undertaken company voluntary arrangements so far this year include Byron, Prezzo and Jamie’s Italian.

New Look: The clothing chain announced earlier this year that it would close 60 UK stores and cut 1,000 jobs as part of a financial restructuring. 




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