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Bank holiday weekends, often involving travel to see friends and family, are traditionally a time for moaning about the UK’s gridlocked roads and erratic rail services.

The British late-summer, with many of us having just spent a week or two on the Continent, is also high season for wondering aloud why “their trains are better than ours”.
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So the UK has dodged the dreaded “triple-dip”. While British GDP fell 0.3pc during the final quarter of 2012, last week came news that our national income increased 0.3pc during the first three months of this year. That meant we avoided two successive quarters of contraction – the standard definition of “recession” and a state this country has already endured twice since the credit crunch was sparked in 2008.

A “triple-dip”, the UK’s first in modern times, would have driven some very nasty headlines for George Osborne. For now, the Chancellor is no doubt allowing himself a sigh of relief. He will be more than aware, though, that for all his “healing” rhetoric, the UK economy remains extremely fragile.

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