Page last updated at 16:40 GMT, Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Darling urges global co-operation

Alistair Darling
Mr Darling wants the G20 to agree an increase in funds for the IMF

The world's biggest economies must work with other countries if they are to bring about economic recovery, UK chancellor Alistair Darling has said.

Ahead of a meeting this weekend of G20 finance ministers, he said it was in everyone's interests to work together.

He is calling for an increase in funds for the International Monetary Fund to boost poorer countries' recovery.

Meanwhile US President Barack Obama has said he is "optimistic" about the prospects for next month's G20 summit.

Speaking at the Foreign Press Association in London, Mr Darling - who is hosting the meeting of G20 finance ministers this weekend - ahead of April's London summit - said consensus would not be achieved "overnight".

In our globalised economy a pound spent in Beijing or Bremen is a job saved in Bradford or Birmingham.
Alistair Darling

But he added: "We can start to build that consensus by recognising that our common interest need not contradict a country's self-interest - in fact, it can complement it. And it's all part of rebuilding confidence."

He said where once the advanced economies could lead, they now had to work "in partnership with new economic partners".

"In our globalised economy a pound spent in Beijing or Bremen is a job saved in Bradford or Birmingham. This is what the G20 presidency is about," he said.

BBC political correspondent Iain Watson said it was one of several events Mr Darling was taking part in, in an effort to get certain issues on the agenda for the weekend meeting - such as boosting IMF funding and tackling tax havens.

'Optimistic'

The Treasury was worried the G20 summit may become too much of a "talking shop" and not achieve enough of substance, he said.

Mr Darling was asked about comments by Sir Gus O'Donnell - the head of the civil service - suggesting No 10 was having difficulties getting in touch with people at the US Treasury department to prepare for the summit.

The chancellor said he had an excellent working relationship and no problems getting in touch with the Americans who, he said, were very focused on preparing for the G20.

Meanwhile President Obama has said he is "optimistic about the prospects" for the G20 meeting in April.

He said the priorities must be to stimulate the global economy, putting into practice a more intensive regulatory framework and warning about the dangers of protectionism.

Downing Street has dismissed reports that hosting next month's summit could cost the British taxpayer 50m.

The government said it would be a "modest and businesslike" affair and estimated the costs at 19m, including security.

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