LONDON - Britain's economy grew by 1.0 per cent in the three months to April, its fastest pace since June 2010, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research estimated on Friday.
NIESR said British economic output was now within 0.17 per cent of the peak reached in the first quarter of 2008, and likely to surpass this level within the next month or so.
Britain's economic recovery has taken much longer to get in gear than in countries such as the United States and Germany, which both returned to pre-crisis levels of output in 2010.
But the rapid expansion over the past year now means that most economists expect the Bank of England to raise interest rates within the next 12 months - before either the US Federal Reserve or the European Central Bank.
Earlier on Friday NIESR revised up its forecast for British growth this year to 2.9 per cent from 2.5 per cent, and its latest monthly gross domestic product estimate follows official data showing fastest quarterly factory output growth since 2010.
Britain's economy grew by 1.7 per cent in 2013 - its fastest rate since 2010 - and expanded by 0.8 per cent in the first three months of this year.