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 shown.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed the economy grew by 0.5% in the final three months of 2014.
That was a slowdown from 0.7% growth recorded in the previous three months.
Economists were mixed over whether the loss of momentum in the final quarter might be temporary or prolonged.
The ONS’s chief economist, Joe Grice, said it was “too early to say” if this slowdown would persist.
“The dominant services sector remains buoyant while the contraction has taken place in industries like construction, mining and energy supply, which can be erratic,” he said.
But Nancy Curtin, chief investment officer at Close Brothers Asset Management, said the fourth-quarter figure “hardly set the world alight… and it’s clear that [the economy] is slowing”.
She said: “There are clouds looming large on the horizon, and the general election is the biggest of these. Investors don’t like uncertainty.”
The services sector grew by 0.8% in the quarter, but construction contracted by 1.8%. Manufacturing grew by just 0.1%, its worst performance since the start of 2013.
“The main disappointment with growth in the fourth quarter was that it looks unbalanced on the output side of the economy at least,” said Howard Archer, chief UK economist at IHS Global Insight.