IMF boss praises coalition strategy

IMF boss Christine Lagarde who has praised the coalition's management of the British economy as providing the right balance of spending cuts and taxes to deliver growth
IMF boss Christine Lagarde who has praised the coalition's management of the British economy as providing the right balance of spending cuts and taxes to deliver growth

International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Christine Lagarde has praised the coalition’s management of the British economy as providing the right balance of spending cuts and taxes to deliver growth.

Ms Lagarde said the strategy pursued by the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats is “clearly delivering results” when compared with the state of other European economies.

The Government demonstrated it was capable of adjusting to the economic reality and delivering spending cuts and revenue raising, in the order, proportion and pace that is right for the British economy, she said.

Recent GDP figures provided a boost to the coalition when they showed the economy grew by 2.8 per cent over 2014, but Ms Lagarde’s intervention comes during the General Election campaign, a time of heightened political sensitivity.

Her comments come days after the IMF contradicted the independent Office for Budget Responsibility, saying the country would still face a budget deficit of £7 billion in 2020, rather than the surplus predicted by the UK body and Chancellor George Osborne.

Speaking at the IMF spring meeting in Washington DC, Ms Lagarde said: “Smart fiscal policy - what I meant by that this morning is a set of policies that are actually targeted and tailored to the state of the economy.

“And what clearly has been demonstrated in the past is that the UK authorities are capable of adjusting to the economic reality in order to provide the right balance of spending cuts, revenue raising and in the order, in the proportion and in the pace that is appropriate to the economy.

“I have no doubt that can continue to be the case in the future.

“But added to that it’s clearly also delivering results because when we look at the comparative growth rates delivered by various countries in Europe it’s obvious that what is happening in the UK has actually worked.”

Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said: “Britain is the job creation powerhouse of the western economies. With record numbers of people in work and the highest employment rate ever, people can see the difference Lib Dems have made in government.

“The balance, common sense, fairness and financial discipline praised by the IMF today are the things we have brought to government.”