Growth in the UK economy has almost ground to a halt. GDP growth was 0.1%, down from 0.4% in the previous quarter, driven by a sharp fall in construction output and a sluggish manufacturing sector.

The ONS said the recent extreme weather had a “relatively small” impact.

The prime minister’s spokesman said the data was “clearly disappointing” but the economic fundamentals “are strong” , adding that the economy “has grown every year since 2010 and unemployment is at a 40-year low”.

So is the clock ticking down to Brexit the reason for the slowdown? There has been relative calm on this front in recent months so it’s not obvious what has halted household expenditure- worth 60 per cent of the UK economy.

But clearly something has spooked consumers- and it’s not just the Beast from the East.