Page last updated at 17:03 GMT, Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Lord Mandelson says G20 is united

Lord Mandelson: "There is strong convergence amongst governments"

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson has said that there was a strong convergence among governments about how to help the world economy.

Speaking at the end of a Downing Street meeting of business leaders, he said that the public was expecting tangible results from the G20 summit in April.

The G20 brings together the industrial and emerging market countries that make up 85% of the world economy.

Disagreement has emerged over how much should be spent to boost global growth.

But Lord Mandelson said that reports of such disagreements were exaggerated, and the meeting was on track to produce concrete results that would boost confidence.

"There are different governments that are different stages of implementing a common approach..there is a very strong convergence among governments about what needs to be done," he said.

He said that what business wants is "markets kept open and trade flowing" with a strong stand against protectionism as well as "proper regulatory reform of the banking system".

"They do want to see vital next steps taken so that the global economy is restored to working order."

World leaders will meet next month in London to discuss measures to tackle the downturn. See our in-depth guide to the G20 summit.
The G20 countries are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the US and the EU.

The aim of the summit of G20 business leaders was to see how effective they thought the efforts by the world's leading governments have been in countering the global economic downturn.

Lord Mandelson's office said had asked each delegate for their top three recommendations to put to world leaders at the summit, which the Prime Minister would feed into the meeting.

The Prime Minister hosted the business summit, which was also attended by other ministers, including Skills Secretary John Denham and Foreign Office Minister Lord Malloch-Brown.

Earlier, Lord Mandelson had accused opposition parties of "praying for bad economic news".

Asked about claims by shadow work secretary Theresa May that job centres were being closed, he accused her of searching for "cheap headlines".

The Tories said he either "doesn't know what's going on, or at worse he is trying to dupe the public".

The row came as unemployment passed two million and an IMF report predicted recession would last longer in the UK than elsewhere.

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