LONDON: For those who coin billions from South Sea bubbles spuming from shifting sands, the chickens have finally come home to roost. Thus in a welter of clichés died an era of phoney prosperity founded on ever-increasing UK national and consumer debt.

According to the Office for National Statistics, in the quarter ended June 30 the UK economy finally decelerated to standstill after fifteen consecutive years of growth – a South Sea bubble that amazed many by its longevity.

From the first quarter of 2008 the nation experienced zero GDP growth which, continued through Q2, officially marks the onset of recession.

The formal confirmation triggered a fall in the value of the pound sterling against both the dollar and the euro. It also raised hopes of a cut in interest rates by the Bank of England.

Blathered a Treasury official: "The Government's priority is to guide Britain through these challenging times, while also supporting those hit hardest as a result of these global factors."

Or in plain English: "It's not our fault!"

Opposing politicians (a majority of whom also connived at the fifteen-year scam) were ready with the pointed finger.

Accused Conservative 'shadow chancellor' George Osborne: "For years Gordon Brown boasted about consecutive quarters of economic growth. Now economic growth has ground to a halt and Brown's bubble has burst."

Meantime, a less partisan opinion from Société Générale Securities analyst Brian Hillard: "This really does put a rate cut firmly on the agenda although it is unlikely to come until we have seen the peak in inflation."

Data sourced from BBC Online (UK); additional content by WARC staff