Philip Hammond: Progress on Brexit deal needed to kick-start UK economy
Philip Hammond has said that rapid progress on a Brexit trade deal is crucial to boost the UK’s flagging economy.
The Chancellor backed the findings of an International Monetary Fund report that suggested uncertainty around the UK’s exit from the EU was dampening growth.
Appearing alongside IMF chief Christine Lagarde, he said: “One of biggest boosts we can provide to our economy is making early progress on delivering certainty and clarity about our future relationship.”
Ms Lagarde – who is in London to deliver the thinktank’s annual analysis of the British economy - insisted she had been right to be gloomy about the UK’s prospects post-Brexit.
The IMF managing director previously came under fire after warning before the referendum that UK house prices and the stock market could crash in the event of a leave vote.
Speaking today she said the UK’s recent economic performance was “a bit of a disappointment”.
In its annual report on the British economy the influential organisation said that the Brexit process was already having a negative effect.
It stated: “Growth in the first three quarters of 2017 was slower than a year ago.”
“Despite a strong recovery in global growth and supportive macroeconomic policies, the impact of the decision to exit the European Union has weighed on private domestic demand.”
'NOT MUCH ROOM FOR CUTS'
It also called for deficit reduction measures to continue, however Ms Lagarde noted that there “isn’t that much extra room for spending cuts”, meaning there may have to be tax rises in future.
On the timetable for the UK's exit from the EU the IMF expressed concern, saying: “The list of tasks that remains to be accomplished is very long, and the timeframe to do so is ambitious.”
However, despite poor growth figures, the UK this week topped an influential Forbes poll ranking countries on attractiveness to global businesses.
It came first out of 25 countries in the magazine's 12th annual survey of the Best Countries for Business – up from fifth place last year.