The UK economy has avoided a double-dip recession, according to a forecast from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR). The organisation's monthly estimate of GDP suggests output grew 0.4% in the three months ending in March. NIESR said the forecast reflected a dip in output in January due to the cold weather. Given the dip and the fact that the growth rate was achieved despite the rise in the VAT rate, the underlying rate of growth of the economy was probably greater than 0.4%, it said. “We now estimate that output is 1.1% higher than at the end of the recession which we currently place in September 2009. “Nevertheless, after two years of depression, output is still 5.4% lower than it was in early 2008,” NIESR said in its release. The Office for National Statistics reported that the UK economy left recession in the final quarter of last year, subsequently revising growth upwards from 0.1% to 0.4%. It will report first quarter GDP on 23 April.