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Industrial output in the UK fell in January

Despite hopes that industrial output in the UK in January would show a 0.3% rise, figures from the Office of National Statistics today show there was actually a 0.4% decline in industrial output compared to December. While there are number of reasons why the figures are lower than many analysts had expected it is yet again another negative comment on the UK economy at a time when some people have been attempting to talk up the UK as a whole.

A mixture of bad weather, a very strong December and a number of orders being rushed through because of VAT changes at the end of 2009 may well account for some of the decline but it is worrying to say the least. It is dangerous to take one month's figures and extrapolate these into a long-term trend so many analysts are prepared to see what happens in February, March and April of this year before making any predictions for the future. While the figure for January was disappointing we are unlikely to see a repeat in February, March or April although the UK economy has never been more unpredictable.

The next couple of months will determine the future of the UK government and this added uncertainty of disappointing figures of late must be a concern to Gordon Brown and his fellow cabinet members.

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