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Fitch downgrades Britain's bond rating from AAA to reflect weaker economic and fiscal outlook

The Fitch Credit ratings agency has downgraded Britain's government bond rating one notch from the top AAA to AA+, citing a weaker economic and fiscal outlook.

Fitch said Friday that the downgrade came because the country lacked "the fiscal space to absorb further adverse economic and financial shocks" that would be consisted with a AAA rating.

The British government has been pursuing an austerity program of spending cuts and tax increases designed to reduce the nation's hefty deficit. But the economy's growth has been flat-lining.

Fitch estimated that the U.K. economy was not expected to reach its 2007 level of real GDP until 2014, underscoring the weakness of the recovery.

The Moody's Investors Service, another rating agency, in February also stripped Britain of its AAA grade.