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The BBC's Jenny Scott
"The report makes good reading for the governemnt"
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The BBC's Jeff Randall
"Gordon Brown is either very brave or very confident"
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Shadow Chief Sec to the Treasurey Oliver Letwin
"He has poured sand into the machinery of the British economy"
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Tuesday, 24 April, 2001, 03:43 GMT 04:43 UK
UK 'set to weather slowdown'
Gordon Brown greeted by Sweden's finance minister Bosse Ringholm
Mr Brown is expected to warn against protectionism
Chancellor Gordon Brown is urging Britain to remain vigilant despite a leaked report saying it will escape the worst of the global economic downturn.

Forecasts for economic growth in Britain have been revised downwards, according to the International Monetary Fund.

But the leaked report by the Washington-based institute says Britain will fare better than its European counterparts.

We will remain vigilant and steer a course of stability at a time of more challenging global economic conditions

Chancellor Gordon Brown
Britain's economy is still forecast to expand by 2.6%, only slightly less than the 2.8% previously predicted.

But in the rest of Europe the knock-on effects of the slowdown in the US economy are expected to be more severe.

Growth in the 12 single-currency countries is now forecast to be 2.4% - down from a previous 3.4%.

However Mr Brown is expected to warn against complacency if Britain is to sustain economic growth.

In a speech to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development's annual meeting on Tuesday he will say that Britain is better placed than other countries for economic growth.

And he will argue that government policies, such as the decision to give interest rate controls to the Bank of England, have made Britain more resilient.

But he will warn against countries trying to shield themselves by hiding behind trade barriers.

Global co-operation

Instead he will call for global economic co-operation.

"The faster the speed of international financial flows, the greater the need for international and national vigilance," he is expected to say.

"In Britain we will remain vigilant and steer a course of stability at a time of more challenging global economic conditions, and continue to deliver stability and sustained growth."

Shadow chancellor Michael Portillo has said that the global slowdown would now force Labour to cut its spending on public services or raise taxes faster than it had planned.

"Rather than plotting a course for stability, Gordon Brown is plotting an imprudent path in an uncertain world," he said.

At an "informal" meeting of EU finance ministers and central bankers in the Swedish city of Malmö last week Mr Brown said Britain was better placed than in previous years to withstand the current downturn.

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See also:

20 Apr 01 | Business
EU debates economic slowdown
11 Apr 01 | Business
Europe keeps interest rates steady
23 Apr 01 | UK
Get ready for recession
02 Apr 01 | Business
IMF calls for euro rate cut
29 Mar 01 | Business
Evidence of a European slowdown
21 Apr 01 | UK Politics
Brown 'optimistic' over slowdown
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