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Sunday, 29 April, 2001, 12:19 GMT 13:19 UK
Brown steers clear of labour reforms
Gordon Brown, uk chancellor of the exchequer
Gordon Brown: UK government will purse "apaptability" drive
UK chancellor Gordon Brown has signalled that Britain is unlikely to follow the French lead and tighten labour laws in response to corporate layoffs.

And, speaking on the sidelines of the spring meeting of the International Monetary Fund and finance chiefs from the world's seven leading industrialised nations, Mr Brown said the UK would be able to weather the storm besetting the global economy.

The effects of the downturn have been blamed by firms such as Motorola and Marconi for job cuts at UK operations.

Job losses announced in France by Danone, Marks & Spencer and other companies have prompted the French government to announce plans that would force firms to pay higher redundancy pay-offs and offer greater consultation with workers.

But Mr Brown said the UK government "will continue to pursue the labour market policies which will increase the adaptability of the labour market".

He stressed that, despite recent announcements of job cuts, UK unemployment is at a 25-year low.

Trade talks

Mr Brown added the UK economy seems to be suffering only "moderate" effects from the global economic downturn.

The country's success in reducing unemployment, coupled with low inflation, "should continue to support the foundations of stability over the medium term".

And he restated calls for leading nations to work together to fight the effects of the downturn.

"There is a recognition that what happens in one country and in one continent does affect another, and no one is isolated," he said.

It remains important of the G7 and other nations that trade talks are resumed.

"There is an increased awareness that this is important, both for trade and the world economy," Mr Brown said.

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