Meanwhile, the composite PMI output index fell to 53.8 in January from 54.1 in December, with a slowdown in services offsetting an acceleration in output growth in the manufacturing sector. A reading above 50 on the index indicates expansion, while one less than that shows a decline.
"The pace of United Kingdom economic growth slowed sharply at the start of the year as January saw a triplewhammy of weaker PMI surveys", Williamson added.
While optimism remained in the sector, with growth in new orders increasing at a slightly quicker pace in January, the overall rate of expansion was slower than seen during most of 2017, the UK's purchasing managers reported.
The dominant services sector undershot expectations in January, confirming an impression of a slowing wider United Kingdom economy in early 2018.
Britain's economy grew faster than expected at the end of 2017, and financial markets have put a 50-50 chance on a BoE rate hike in May. Combined with the data on the manufacturing and construction sector that were worse than expected last week, the results on activity in the service sector show that the sixth largest economy in the world is growing at the slowest pace since the Brexit vote.
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The index for new business rose to 52.2 from 51.1 in the previous month, and the rate of growth accelerated for the first time since October.
The sector's total number of employees rose for the 17th straight month in January, with some companies citing greater business requirements as the reason for adding to their payrolls.
Williamson said that the January numbers were signalling a United Kingdom growth rate of "just under 0.3 per cent" for the first quarter of 2018, which would mark a slowdown from 0.5 per cent in December.
Companies also continued to hire new staff - with the pace of job creation at a four month high. Nonetheless, competitive pressures ensured that the rate of inflation was marginal.
"[The data] strengthen the case for the Bank to take a lengthy pause before raising interest rates again; we see the next hike coming in August".