Brown eyes global solution to financial crisis

Britain will push forward its efforts to strengthen international regulation of the global economy, Gordon Brown said today.

The prime minister told the Labour party conference in Manchester “the time has now come” for such a move because “global problems need global solutions”.

“When people ask, what we will do to sort out the financial system – what we will do to ensure there is responsibility and not irresponsibility – I tell you in three words: whatever it takes,” he said to applause.

Mr Brown announced he will fly to the US after the Labour conference concludes on Wednesday to meet with representatives of the financial institutions taking action in America to shore up struggling banks.

And he said the government was pressing Lehman Brothers to negotiate the “cleaners and computer operators” who worked for the bankrupted company would get paid.

“Ten years ago, it was a different world. Money can move across frontiers, billions of pounds, overnight,” he added.

“We are leading the way so we can finally have an international supervision of a system that is undoubtedly global.”

Chancellor Alistair Darling, speaking during the same question and answer session to the conference, said the purpose of regulation – “fairness” was the same as the Labour conference’s theme.

“What we need to do is, building on everything we’ve done in the last ten years., make sure our regulatory system is up to the mark,” he said.

Mr Darling, having admitted “things are tough”, said he was “optimistic” Britain would get through it before correcting himself to “confident”.

The pair’s comments follow an article by Mr Brown today in which the prime minister praises the actions of his government in tackling the current financial crisis.

Writing in the Guardian newspaper, Mr Brown said the government has taken “necessary and decisive action” over the last seven days to “keep the financial system moving”.

He claimed the financial turbulence witnessed during the last week highlighted the “starkest demonstration yet that we are living in an era of dramatic global change”.

He mentioned the merger of Lloyds TSB and HBOS as well as the actions of the US government in providing bailouts to troubled financial institutions.

“Just as when we stopped Northern Rock going to the wall…we have acted to secure people’s savings, support the housing market and underpin liquidity in the banking sector,” he said.

“And with our support, the Financial Services Authority has banned short-selling of financial stocks.”

Foreign secretary David Miliband, seen by some as Mr Brown’s natural successor, also set out his views for the future across four pages in today’s Mirror newspaper.