Official data shows Britain's economy has sunk back into recession amid ongoing state austerity and the eurozone debt crisis.
The data confounded most analysts' expectations that gross domestic product (GDP) would grow by 0.1 per cent in the quarter from January to March, compared with the final quarter of last year.
The ONS added in a statement that the decline in first-quarter GDP - the value of all goods and services produced by the economy - was driven by a poor performance by the construction and manufacturing sectors.
Britain's economy had clawed its way out of a record-length recession in the third quarter of 2009 following a downturn sparked by the global financial crisis.
But it has now returned to recession amid painful government spending cutbacks and fallout from the debt crisis in the neighbouring eurozone, which is a key trading partner.