Christine Lagarde, head of the IMF. Image: International Monetary Fund
Image: International Monetary Fund

More delays to Brexit will “hinder” the UK economy’s ability to grow, the head of the International Monetary Funding (IMF) Christine Lagarde has warned.

Speaking to the BBC before the EU agreed to extend Article 50 until 31 October, Ms Lagarde said that continued uncertainty will leave businesses hesitant about their plans and cause a “negative impact”.

Ms Lagarde said at the spring meetings of the World Bank and IMF: “If there was a prolonged uncertainty, we can suspect that the impact on confidence would continue because, you know, whether you’re talking about investors, whether you’re talking about decisions as to where to expand where to set up how to organize a supply chain, people are going to wonder, you know, what comes next and and how will it settle?

“So it would have a negative impact, no question about it. ”

The IMF boss also expressed her sadness at the prospect of the UK leaving the EU, particularly warning of the dangers of leaving without a deal. She described Brexit as “very, very concerning on the one hand and very sad”.

Ms Lagarde went on to say: “I grew up across the Channel and in the city of Le Havre, and to me being able to go across to Southampton, in an easy and unhampered way, was wonderful,” before adding: “Having my positive hat on it removes the risk of the no-deal Brexit on April 12, so at least the UK is not leaving on April 12 without a deal.

“We believe that the no deal Brexit would have been a terrible outcome.”