Britain's economy perked up in the final months of 2005 to grow at its long-term average for the first time in a year.
National Statistics confirmed its earlier estimate that buoyant service activities pushed Britain's growth ahead by 0.6 per cent between the third and fourth quarters of the year. In the third quarter growth was 0.5 per cent.
Year-on-year, the economy grew by 1.8 per cent from the fourth quarter of 2004, again unchanged on the previous estimate, and in line with expectations.
In the third quarter, the equivalent figure stood at 1.9 per cent.
But growth of 1.8 per cent for 2005 as a whole was the lowest since 1992's 0.3 per cent, when Britain was starting to emerge from the deep recession of the early 1990s.
In 2004 the economy grew by an above-trend 3.1 per cent.
Last year, industrial production, which accounts for around 20 per cent of Britain's gross domestic product, fell by 0.9 per cent during the final quarter, worse than both the previous estimate of a 0.8 per cent decline and a 0.7 per cent fall in the third-quarter.
Within industrial production, manufacturing output suffered a 1.1 per cent decline, a sharp reversal from a 0.3 per cent increase recorded for the third quarter.
NS said some of this manufacturing decline was offset by a 0.8 per cent increase in the mining and quarrying output (including North Seas oil and gas) and a 0.1 per cent rise in the supply of electricity, gas and water, where increases in electricity supply were broadly matched by falls in gas and water.
Services more than offset the decline in industrial production with a one per cent increase between the third and fourth quarters. That was up on both NS's previous estimate of a 0.9 per cent gain and 0.8 per cent recorded for the third quarter.
Within services, which account for 73 per cent of GDP, NS said transport and communications output expanded by 1.4 per cent, driven by transport support activities and post and telecommunications services.
Business services and finances rose by 1.1 per cent.
Output in distribution, hotels and catering rose by 1.1 per cent, driven by growth in retailing, and hotels and restaurants. Government and other services rose by 0.5 per cent.
Elsewhere, NS said construction output, which accounts for around six per cent of total GDP, climbed by 0.2 per cent.
Household spending grew by 0.7 per cent in the fourth quarter, reflecting a tentative recovery in retail sales. ..SUPL: