Prime Minister Gordon Brown has suggested he will push expansionary fiscal policies to help boost the economy. Brown’s comments were the latest in a series from him and Chancellor Alistair Darling stressing the importance of boosting the economy, which shrank in the third quarter of 2008 for the first time in 16 years and is expected to contract more sharply next year.
They were widely accused of dithering earlier this week but Gordon Brown and Chancellor Alistair Darling have now finally caught up with events and have tried for the first time to overtake them by unveiling a 50-billion pound rescue package for the banks.
EU leaders went to Paris at the weekend and vowed solemnly to co-operate in their handling of the credit crisis. By Monday all bets were off as different countries either broke ranks or strained at the leash in their desire to protect their own private savers first by offering blanket guarantees.
One thing looks certain after Alistair Darling’s speech to***the Labour Party conference on Monday — he’ll be Chancellor of***the Exchequer for a while yet.****** Prime Minister Gordon Brown is expected to reshuffle his***ministerial team next week and there’s been a lot of speculation***that Darling could lose his job and be moved to another***department.****** The silver-haired finance minister has had a rough ride***lately. The economy is on the brink of recession and his***comments in a magazine interview saying the economic challenges***were the greatest in 60 years caused a furore and were blamed***for sinking the pound.****** But delegates at the Labour conference today just loved him.***They stood and clapped and then they clapped some more after***Darling hit out at unfettered capitalism and the huge payouts***given to bankers that he said helped cause the credit crunch.****** Darling looked genuinely embarrassed. He called for them to***stop but the delegates just went on. Besides modesty, the***finance minister had another reason for wanting them to stop.****** He had another type of conference call to attend to. A G7***one. The finance ministers and central bankers of the rich***nations club were having a hastily-arranged telephone chat at***1230 London time to discuss the latest bout of market turmoil.****** Given London’s position as one of the world’s top financial***centres, Darling could hardly miss out and he rushed off the***stage to get on with his G7 buddies.****** The crisis also looks to have cemented Darling’s position.***It would seem odd to remove the finance minister when the whole***world financial system is in the middle of the biggest upheaval***in a generation.****** With Brown making his economic experience a key selling***point, he needs Darling on side.
“Woefully inadequate”, “a muddle-through ethos”, “a lack of awareness” – just some of the phrases used in scathing reports to describe data protection practices at the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
The trade body for the mortgage industry has written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. In its letter to Alistair Darling, the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) outlines the range of steps that lenders are, apparently, taking to minimise problems borrowers may face in the wake of the credit crunch — and help limit the number of property repossessions. Its members have committed to four “significant specific measures”. These are, in the CML’s own words: