Britain's manufacturing sector grew at its best pace for three years in the 12 months to February, boosting hopes for a broad-based economic recovery.

The sector expanded by 3.8% compared with the same month last year, the sixth month in a row of year-on-year growth and the fastest since February 2011.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which were better than expected, showed month-on-month growth of 1%, the third consecutive positive reading and the best since September.

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They suggest manufacturing looks increasingly likely to contribute to another quarterly rise in the UK's gross domestic product (GDP) for the start of the year.