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Osborne to hail UK economic success

George Osborne will take to the world stage today to trumpet the success of Britain's economic recovery a year after the International Monetary Fund warned that his austerity policies were "playing with fire".

The Chancellor arrives in Washington for the spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank, basking in the latest IMF forecasts which predict the UK will be the fastest-growing economy among the major developed nations this year.

He will use a keynote speech to reject the arguments of the IMF's chief economist, Olivier Blanchard, who warned last year that the UK's austerity policies were strangling growth, saying such an approach was "precisely the wrong prescription for our economies".

In an upbeat address to the American Enterprise Institute, Mr Osborne will dismiss suggestions that the West is locked in a cycle of economic stagnation, declaring: "Our nations' best days lie ahead."

The Chancellor will say that the strengthening economy in Britain is underpinned by well-capitalised banks and a "credible" fiscal policy.

He will argue that the UK's experience has shown that claims that recovery required more fiscal stimulus and higher government borrowing were wrong, and that re-building the public finances goes hand-in-hand with restoring the wider economy.

He will point to figures showing that job creation is three times faster than in any previous UK recovery - with four new jobs in the private sector for every one lost in the public sector - while the rate of growth in investment spending is outstripping the United States.

"Our economy has grown faster than any other in the G7 over the last year and is now forecast by the IMF to do the same in 2014. This is despite warnings from some that our determined pursuit of our economic plan made that impossible," he will say, according to an advance extract of his speech.

"All of this demonstrates that fiscal consolidation and economic recovery go together, and undermines the pessimistic prognosis that only further fiscal stimulus can drive sustainable growth. Indeed that is precisely the wrong prescription for our economies.

"Instead of more debt or more government spending, we need to get our public finances in order, make structural reforms and compete in the world again."

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