By Jonathan Davies

The head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has praised the UK's economic strategy at a meeting in Washington.

Christine Lagarde said "it's obvious what's happening in the UK has worked".

Praising the economic strategy implemented by the coalition government, she said: "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's happening in the UK has actually worked."

Ms Lagarde also played down the importance of an IMF forecast which suggested that the UK would still have a deficit in 2019/20 - the Office of Budget Responsibility forecast referred to in the Chancellor George Osborne's Budget statement said the UK would be running a £7 billion surplus by that time.

She said the figures were largely the same, but calculated slightly differently.

"Generally in any election year, the teams that provide the hypotheticals on which future deficits are forecast, air on the side of caution and assume that whatever is announced is not necessarily or inevitably going to happen," Ms Lagarde said.