The British government's spending cuts and tax increases may have hurt economic growth more than originally assumed, the country's forecasting body OBR said on Tuesday.
The independent Office for Budget Responsibility's assessment is likely to fuel the heated debate about the government's austerity drive, which the opposition in parliament blames for the renewed recession in Britain.
The independent OBR -- set up by the government to produce forecasts and assess fiscal policy -- also said in its evaluation of its forecasting record that the financial crisis may have caused a lasting hit to the economy's ability to grow.
"Along with many other forecasters, we significantly overestimated economic growth over the past two years," it said.
The OBR said the hit from stubborn inflation on real consumer spending, deteriorating export markets, and impaired credit conditions as well as the euro area anxiety and demand uncertainty on business investment all contributed to the weak growth.
"Fiscal consolidation may also have done more to slow growth than we assumed," they said.
(Reporting by Sven Egenter. Editing by Jeremy Gaunt.)