Page last updated at 19:54 GMT, Saturday, 19 September 2009 20:54 UK

PM in 'life support' economy plea

Gordon Brown and Hazel Blears
Mr Brown's YouTube message was criticised by Hazel Blears

Gordon Brown has used a "fireside chat" podcast to warn fellow leaders against "switching off life support" as the world seeks economic recovery.

In an audio message on the Downing Street website ahead of next week's G20 meeting in the US, the prime minister urged a renewed focus on the economy.

He said: "Now is not the time to lose our focus on the economy - we must not switch off the life support.

"People are still losing their jobs, their hope. And we must not fail them."

Mr Brown's message was recorded in an audio-only broadcast - unlike the YouTube video in which he said he was dealing with the MPs' expenses scandal.

That performance was widely criticised, while then-communities secretary Hazel Blears said videos were no substitute for knocking on doors.

'Tough choices'

Number 10 is likening this message to US president Franklin Roosevelt's "fireside chat" broadcasts in the 1930s and 1940s.

Mr Brown, who on Tuesday admitted for the first time that cuts in public spending are needed, said he would not "shy away from the tough choices ahead".

He went on: "The road to recovery is fragile.

"Recovery is not automatic and I will not allow anyone or anything to put it at risk.

"Entrenching our recovery and securing sustainable growth for the future will be my top priority during a visit to America this week."

The prime minister also urged "statesmanship, not brinkmanship" over Iran's alleged programme to develop nuclear weapons.

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