The UK's economy grew by 2.6% last year, the fastest pace since 2007 and up from 1.7% in 2013, official figures have from the Office of National Statistics, ONS, have shown. The economy expanded 0.5% in the last quarter of 2014, which was a slowdown from the 0.7% of the previous three months.
Britain's credit standing took a further blow when Fitch Ratings became the second major international agency to strip the country of its top-notch credit rating. The move is an embarrassment for the Conservative-led government which promised to protect the country's rating when it took power in 2010, and will heighten the debate about whether austerity is still the right approach.
Prime Minister David Cameron was reprimanded by a budget watchdog for claiming that it did not see his austerity agenda as a drag on Britain's economy. In a speech on Thursday, Cameron said his deficit-cutting agenda was not responsible for the country's depressed growth rate which was instead caused by the financial crisis, the Euro zone's problems and higher oil prices - a view he said was endorsed by the independent watchdog.