America puts Britain in shade

The US put the shrinking British economy firmly in the shade at the end of 2011, growing at the fastest rate for a year and a half.

The world's biggest economy expanded at an annual pace of 2.8 per cent between October and December, short of hopes of 3 per cent, but still a marked acceleration from the third quarter's 1.8 per cent. Car makers, which suffered badly after the Lehman Brothers crisis, were among the star performers.