Page last updated at 14:16 GMT, Tuesday, 14 October 2008 15:16 UK

Stakes higher than ever, says PM

Gordon Brown
Mr Brown said politics had its ups and downs but he was still the same person

Gordon Brown has warned fellow world leaders that the stakes are "higher than ever before", as he called for reforms of the global finance system.

Ahead of a meeting of EU leaders, the prime minister said action to improve liquidity was not enough.

More had to be done to boost confidence while the next few days were "crucial".

The Conservatives said Mr Brown had to accept his share of the blame for the crisis, while the Lib Dems urged more help for struggling UK households.

Superhero?

EU leaders are meeting in Brussels on Wednesday to discuss the economic situation.

At a gathering of the Foreign Press Association in London, Mr Brown said: "We need to show that we have dealt with the difficulties' cause in the first place, that we are making the reforms that are necessary so that the global financial system will work."

He added: "I believe the stakes are higher than ever before and the coming days will be crucial for the international community."

Mr Brown was repeatedly asked how it felt to be viewed as a "superhero", given the praise he has received from some commentators for his handling of the banking crisis.

He said politics had its "ups and downs", but added: "I'm just Gordon, I can assure you."

Business minister Lady Vadera told BBC Radio 4's The World at One: "The important thing right now is that we take decisive action...

"We continue to work with other countries around the world to do what we can.

"This is not the time for worrying about politics of image. We have to do what we can for businesses and people."

'Bad mistake'

But Mr Cameron told BBC Radio 2's Jeremy Vine Show: "Gordon Brown did something in 1997 that we thought was wrong, and I still think was wrong, and I would put right, in that he basically took the Bank of England out of the scene of regulating the level of debt in the economy.

"That was a very bad mistake. We're paying for that mistake now, and we should correct it.

"They've basically taken the institution that's got the real clout in terms of regulating debt and taken it out of the picture.

"We had 18 years of Conservative government when the Bank of England was fulfilling that role and we never had a banking crisis quite like this one."

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg said more needed to be done to help struggling families, including tax cuts for low and middle-earners and providing more independent financial advice.

Otherwise, the 37bn package to help banks which the government announced on Monday would turn out to be "part of an incomplete jigsaw", he added.

The party's Treasury spokesman, Vince Cable, said it was "probably not compatible" for banks part-owned by the taxpayer to be advising clients on how to avoid their tax liabilities.


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