UK productivity fell for the second quarter in a row and continues to lag behind trading partners such as the US, France and Germany, Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures indicate.

Hourly output fell 0.1% in the April-to-June period, following a 0.5% decline in the first three months of the year.

The ONS said the fall represented a continuation of the UK’s “productivity puzzle”, referring to the relative stagnation of labour productivity since the financial crisis.

Samuel Tombs,‏ chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said: “Simply staggering - productivity (output per hour) in Q2 just 0.9% higher than a decade ago, the worst result for 200 years.”

Mike Cherry, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, says: “It’s troubling to see sluggish productivity serving as such a persistent barrier to UK growth. The chancellor must intervene to stop the productivity rot at the Autumn Budget.

“It’s particularly striking to see manufacturers, often touted as the great beneficiaries of a weakened pound post-Brexit, seeing such a marked fall in output per hour.

“Small firms need greater clarity about the future. More than seven in 10 are not expecting to increase investment over the coming quarter. It’s hard to blame them when guarantees about a post-Brexit transition period and the future of EU workers have not been forthcoming.”