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UK prime minister banking on economic stability in 2008

UK prime minister banking on economic stability in 2008

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said in his New Year message yesterday that his agenda for 2008 would depend on weathering global financial turbulence.
Brown said "upon it all else depends" as he tried to relaunch his premiership in the New Year, having endured a rocky start since taking over from Tony Blair in June.
The Scot said 2008 would witness measurable "real and serious changes" in Britain, tackling globalization, climate change and the "great unfinished business" of social reform.
"Our strong economy is the foundation," Brown said in the New Year message statement.
"And with unbending determination, in 2008, we will steer a course of stability through global financial turbulence.
"The global credit problem that started in America is now the most immediate challenge for every economy and addressing it the most immediate priority.
"But just as we withstood the Asia crisis, the American recession, the end of the IT bubble and the trebling of oil prices and continued to grow, Britain will meet and master this new challenge by our determination to maintain stability and low inflation."
Brown, who served as finance minister for the 10 years of Blair's premiership, vowed to keep inflation and interest rates low.
"I promise that we will take no risks with stability," said the 56-year-old.
"Upon it all else depends: family prosperity and our capacity to build the good society - better educated, healthier, safer and fairer than we have known before.
"Economic stability alone does not secure any of this, but makes all of it possible.
"And 2008 will be the decisive year of this decade to put in place the long-term changes that will prepare us for the decades ahead."
Brown initially won praise for the government's handling of flooding, car bomb attacks and foot and mouth outbreaks.
But his governing Labor Party's 11-point opinion poll lead became a 13-point deficit as personal details on nearly half the population got lost in the post and Labor became embroiled in a new row over party funding.
However, a new YouGov poll of 1,566 people between December 20-27 in The Sunday Times newspaper put the main opposition Conservatives on 40 percent, Labor on 35 percent and the Liberal Democrats on 15 percent.
Brown's personal popularity was on minus 24 percent, while Conservative leader David Cameron was on plus 22 percent.
In another timely boost, arch-Blairite former minister Stephen Byers offered Brown a New Year olive branch, calling Blair "history" and urging an end to "old battles" in The Observer newspaper.
The weekly said it understood Blair had ordered his supporters to back Brown and not "rock the boat."
There had been speculation that Byers and other jettisoned Blair loyalists were getting restless with Labor's poll slump.
It is the responsibility of all of us who want to see a fourth election victory to give him (Brown) our support," Byers wrote.
Meanwhile, Blairite Olympics minister Tessa Jowell told The Sunday Telegraph newspaper that a "faultline" had opened up in Brown's performance since he decided in October not to call an early election. She suggested Brown might have to accept that the public might not like him but could respect him.
Justice Secretary Jack Straw, who ran Brown's leadership campaign, told The Sunday Times the Labour government must show "clear progress" in 2008 if it is to hold on to power.
The next general election must be called by May 2010.
In his New Year message, Cameron pledged: "This will be the year in which we show that there is hope for the future, that there is a clear and credible alternative to this hopeless and incompetent Labor government."


Updated : 2021-01-26 15:03 GMT+08:00