Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed the British economy has contracted in the first quarter of 2012.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) fell 0.2% in the first three months of the year, following a 0.3% contraction in the final quarter of 2011. The news has officially positioned Britain as being in a double-dip recession, confirmed by negative growth in two consecutive quarters, despite economists predicting a 0.1% increase for Q1 2012.

In a statement, Chancellor George Osbourne, said: "It’s a very tough economic situation. It’s taking longer than anyone hoped to recover from the biggest debt crisis of our lifetime. The one thing that would make the situation even worse would be to abandon our credible plan and deliberately add more borrowing and even more debt."

Output of the production industries declined by 0.4%, with a 1.3% drop in the previous quarter. Construction output additionally decreased by 3% in Q1 2012, following a 0.2% fall in the previous three-month period.

Britain’s service sector saw slight growth of 0.1% for the quarter after a 0.1% decline in Q4 2011.