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The UK economy saw its longest period of continuous growth since 2008 in the 15 months to April 2014, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

But growth in the first quarter of this year was marginally slower, at 0.8 per cent, than the 0.9 per cent growth analysts had predicted.

An ONS preliminary estimate, released today, showed that GDP is now just 0.6 per cent below its pre-downturn peak. GDP in the UK grew steadily from 2000 until early 2008, at which point a series of global financial and economic shocks affected UK and international economic growth.

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