The UK economy has returned to recession after the economy shrank by 0.2% in the first three months of 2012.

The Office for National Statistics reported the second consecutive quarter of contraction, creating the official definition of a recession.

The ONS recorded a contraction of 0.3% in the last three months of 2011. It is the first double-dip recession since 1975.

Wednesday’s figure is the preliminary estimate from the ONS, based on only about 40% of the information that will be used to reach later figures.

Conlumino analyst Neil Saunders said on Twitter: “The most serious impact of being back in recession will be a psychological one; the impact on confidence will be interesting.”