By Daniel Hunter

Official figures have revealed that UK industrial production was stronger than forecast in March.

Production was boosted by manufacturing and a recovery in oil and gas output, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Manufacturing output, a sub-sector of industrial production, rose 1.1%, boosted by electronics, metals and machinery. But annual output was still 1.4% lower.

The extended period of cold weather help the electricity, gas steam and air conditioning sectors achieve 2.4% growth in March.

“These figures are slightly better than analysts predicted, and suggest there will be no revisions in the ONS’s 0.3% GDP growth estimate for the first quarter," David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said.

"While the monthly increases in both manufacturing and total production are welcome, longer-term comparisons are disappointing, and show year-on-year declines. These figures support our view that growth is likely to continue throughout the remainder of 2013. But the pace of recovery is still inadequate and further measures are needed to support growth.

“The UK economy is clearly facing challenges at home and abroad. However British firms remain confident that they are able to lead the UK towards a lasting recovery. To support them, the government must persevere with further deregulation, and improve the availability of finance to growing companies so that the private sector can successfully export, invest, and create jobs.”

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