Britain is today expected to join the list of countries out of recession, with official figures predicted to mark the end of the economy's worst slump since the 1930s.

The economy is forecast to have returned to growth in the final three months of last year, exiting a recession that began months before the collapse of Lehman Brothers almost crippled the global financial system. City experts predict the release from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) at 9:30am will show that the economy notched growth of 0.4pc in the final quarter of 2009 compared with the three months earlier.

Should the forecast prove accurate, the News will be seized upon by the Government as evidence that the unprecedented stimulus offered the economy is bearing fruit. How to drive a recovery now lies at the heart of a General Election campaign that both Labour and the Conservatives have already unofficially kicked off. The Conservatives will instead focus on the fact that Britain's emergence from the downturn has trailed all its major rivals, including France, Germany, Japan and the United States.
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