The UK’s Treasury chief on Friday criticized the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for consistently underestimating the UK’s economy, after it predicted that it would perform poorly this year.
The comments by Jeremy Hunt, chancellor of the Exchequer, came during the IMF’s spring meetings in Washington, as reported by The Times of London.
The global body said it expects the UK economy to contract by 0.3% this year, which would make it the second country, after Germany, to record a fall in growth and also the worst-performing major economy.
Hunt said the IMF had “undershot” in its predictions for the British economy “every year since 2016, bar one” but the fund was “just one of a number of forecasters.”
Despite the IMF’s negative outlook, Hunt said the fund supports the UK government’s economic policies.
Factors cited by the IMF’s economists include high energy prices and interest rates.
Official figures showed that the UK’s monthly growth stagnated in February, following public sector strikes that impacted output.
However, growth figures for January were revised upward from 0.3% to 0.4% following a 0.5% decline in December.
In March, the government unveiled “a budget for growth,” with Hunt outlining government plans to boost business investment, raise defense spending, and extend energy bill support.
Source : AA