STOCKPILING by firms preparing for Brexit has delivered a boost to the economy.
Manufacturers ordering in extra goods earlier this year led to a better than expected figures.
The Office for National Statistics said that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rose by 0.3 per cent over winter, higher than economists had feared.
And growth in February was 0.2 per cent, more than the 0 per cent predicted.
Manufacturing output grew for the second month in a row and is now “at its highest level since April 2008”, the ONS said.
It pointed to a recent survey showing that firms were trying to “build safety stocks” ahead of Brexit.
The ONS said: “There has been external evidence that some manufacturing businesses have changed the timing of their activity as we approached the original planned date for the UK’s departure from the European Union.
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“We have found some qualitative evidence that supported this view but were unable to quantify its impact.”
Head of GDP at the ONS Rob Kent-Smith added: “GDP growth remained modest in the latest three months. Services again drove the economy, with a continued strong performance in IT.
“Manufacturing also continued to recover after weakness at the end of last year with the often-erratic pharmaceutical industry, chemicals and alcohol performing well in recent months.”
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