The UK service sector contracted for the first time in 20 months in December. The findings, contained in the latest Markit/CIPS purchasing managers index raise further questions about the strength of the UK recovery. Despite a good manufacturing performance, a fall in construction output with the slip in service sector performance - affected by the snow - meant the UK economy likely shrank in December. However, economists view it as a blip caused in part by the adverse weather and have so far not warned of a double dip recession for the economy.