Britain will meet financial fight in 2009: PM

LONDON, Dec 28, 2008 (AFP) - Prime Minister Gordon Brown is to say in his New Year message that Britain will stand up to the economic challenges thrown its way in 2009, media reported Sunday.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown

Using language close to US president-elect Barack Obama's "Yes we can" slogan, Brown was to say that the looming recession would be a test of character that the British people must pass.

Brown was to urge Britons to summon up the spirit that saw their ancestors grind to victory in World War II.

He was to say that the security, environmental and "enormous" economic challenges ahead would all be met.

"I believe we can do it -- and because we can, we must," he was expected to say.

Brown was to demand that people work together to build a stronger nation, and hail Obama as a catalyst for tackling global issues.

"I am confident that we can steer Britain safely into the future.

"Today the issues may be different, more complex, more global. And yet the qualities we need to meet them the British people have demonstrated in abundance before.

"So that we will eventually look back on the winter of 2008 as another great challenge that was thrown Britain's way, and that Britain met.

"Because we had the right values, the right policies, the right character to meet it.

"That's why I don't believe Britain is broken -- I believe it is the best country in the world. I believe the British people will show those who talk them down exactly what they are made of in 2009 -- as we build tomorrow today."

Brown has promised to boost spending through borrowing to get Britain through the financial crisis.

He was to say that during past downturns, governments blundered by slashing investment.

"This will not happen on my watch," Brown was to insist. "The threat that will come of doing too little is greater than the threat of attempting too much."

Brown was to say that Obama would play a key role in tackling climate change.

"The stakes are too great with our planet in peril for us to do anything less," he was to say.

"I look forward to working with president elect Obama in creating a transatlantic, and then a global coalition for change."

Chris Grayling, a front-bench spokesman for the main opposition Conservatives, said: "Copying Barack Obama's slogans won't help Gordon Brown cover up his failings.

"His New Year resolution should be to tell the truth about his plans to double our national debt and about his failed policies that have left us facing a deeper recession than almost any other country in the world."

Source: AFP

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