Economy 15 October 2012 Osborne should prepare for a triple-dip recession After returning to growth in the third quarter, the economy is in danger of shrinking again in the fourth quarter. Sign up for our weekly email * Print HTML The hope among the Conservatives is that the next set of growth figures - released on 25 October - will allow them to promote a narrative of economic recovery. It seems likely that the economy finally returned to growth in the third quarter after three successive quarters of decline. In its latest set of forecasts, Ernst & Young predicts growth of 0.7% in Q3 as the economy benefits from the inclusion of Olympics ticket sales (which are expected to add around 0.2% to GDP) and recovers the lost output from the extra bank holiday in the previous quarter. This would represent the strongest quarter of growth for more than two years, but if we strip out the temporary factors I mentioned, the figure would be just 0.2%. Worse for George Osborne, Ernst & Young expects growth to slow to just 0.1% in the fourth quarter. As New Statesman economics editor David Blanchflower wrote in his most recent column, "We are in the slowest recovery since the Second World War and are perhaps even heading for a triple dip." Bank of England MPC member Martin Weale has similarly warned: "The Jubilee depressed output in the second quarter so you get an automatic bounce back. But if we talk about underlying growth then I think the economy is flat. I certainly would not say there is no risk of [a triple-dip recession] happening." Martin Beck, UK economist at Capital Economics, told the Today programme last week: "we expect the economy to start contracting again in the fourth quarter." Rather than heralding a sustained recovery, as the Tories hope, the Q3 figures will more likely represent a false dawn before growth vanishes again. › The age of the social sonogram - where does the oversharing end? George Osborne gives a television interview during the Conservative conference in Birmingham last week. Photograph: Getty Images. George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman. Subscribe from just £1 per issue More Related articles Let's talk about Daniel Hannan, Donald Trump and Adolf Hitler To the Commonwealth, "Global Britain" sounds like nostalgia for something else Is defeat in Stoke the beginning of the end for Paul Nuttall?