Page last updated at 22:54 GMT, Saturday, 27 December 2008

Recession 'a test of character'

Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown is confident about his leadership in 2009

The recession is a test of character the British people must pass, Gordon Brown is set to say.

In next week's New Year message, the prime minister is expected to urge the public to "display the same spirit" as their predecessors did in World War II.

He will also describe US president-elect Barack Obama as a "catalyst" for tackling global issues.

And Mr Brown will demand that the public work together in an effort to build a "better tomorrow".

Britain's way

Mr Brown will call on Britain to "rise to the challenge" of the economic crisis.

But he will highlight his confidence in the future of the country, saying: "Today the issues may be different, more complex, more global.

"And yet the qualities we need to meet them the British people have demonstrated in abundance before.

"So that we will eventually look back on the winter of 2008 as another great challenge that was thrown Britain's way, and that Britain met.

"Because we had the right values, the right policies, the right character to meet it."

He is expected to proclaim that Britain is not "broken" but the "best country in the world" and say: "I believe the British people will show those who talk them down exactly what they are made of in 2009 - as we build tomorrow today."

Climate change

He is due to criticise governments leading the country through past downturns and say they blundered by cutting investment.

Mr Brown is expected to insist: "This will not happen on my watch.

"The threat that will come of doing too little is greater than the threat of attempting too much."

Returning to his focus on the problem of climate change, Mr Brown will describe Mr Obama as a leading light in the fight against it.

Mr Brown will say: "I believe we can do it - and because we can, we must.

"The stakes are too great with our planet in peril for us to do anything less.

"I look forward to working with President-elect Obama in creating a transatlantic, and then a global coalition for change."

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