UK's Hammond says economy 'robust' after latest GDP data

Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond is seen outside Downing Street in London, Britain May 7, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

LONDON (Reuters) - British finance minister Philip Hammond said the country’s economy had remained solid during the three months running up to its planned departure from the European Union, following the release of official first-quarter economic data on Friday.

“Today’s figures show the economy remains robust, with growth of 0.5% in Q1 benefiting every major sector,” Hammond said in a statement.

Friday’s figures showed that manufacturing had been the main driver of growth, as firms rushed to deliver orders and build up stocks before the March 29 date when Britain had been due to leave the EU.

Reporting by David Milliken; editing by Kate Holton