Wednesday 13 December 2017

Do I have to go down on my knees to say sorry – Lagarde

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde
International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde

Matthew Holehouse

Christine Lagarde has asked whether she needs to grovel on her knees before British Chancellor George Osborne over the IMF's incorrect warnings on the UK economy, as she warned against raising taxes.

"Do I have to go on my knees?" Ms Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said, when asked whether she has apologised to Mr Osborne over the fund's low growth forecasts and calls to adopt a 'Plan B' of less austerity – calls the body now accepts it got wrong.

In a blow to Britain's Labour leader Ed Miliband, who has called for higher rates of personal taxation and new levies on banks, Ms Lagarde said tax rises are "not recommendable".

The growth the UK is enjoying now has "resulted" from Mr Osborne's policies, she said. It appears to be "pretty sustainable".

A year ago Oliver Blanchard, the IMF's chief economist, warned Mr Osborne was "playing with fire" with austerity and downgraded Britain's growth forecast to just 0.7pc for 2013. Instead, it grew by 1.7pc, and is expected to hit 2.7pc.

"We got it wrong," Ms Lagarde told the 'Andrew Marr Show'. "We acknowledged it. Clearly the confidence building that has resulted from the economic policies adopted by the government has surprised many of us."

Ms Lagarde dismissed speculation she could be the next president of the European Commission, saying: "The only position that has not been debated for me has been the Vatican." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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