LONDON, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Below are highlights of a speech by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to the Progressive Governance conference, a meeting of centre-left European leaders in London, on Friday.
“I believe first of all that we now need nothing short of a world constitution for the global financial system.”
“I believe that each country needs national growth and jobs strategies that are founded on science, innovation and skills for the future, but also ... growth for the each of us will be lower and therefore low growth will affect us all unless there is a strategy for global growth agreed between the G20 countries and beyond.”
“We are doing what we can in Britain to give our banks a sound capital base from which to move forward.
“But we need a global solution: common rules for capital and liquidity, common standards for supervision, common rules for bonuses and a shared way of assessing the contribution banks should make to society, free of the unfair and disproportionate use of regulatory and tax havens which penalise countries doing the right things.”
“We are now discussing with the IMF and other countries the prospect of a global levy that will embody the contribution global banks should make to the public interest.
“I hope that all these things can be agreed in the coming months in the meetings in Canada and Korea.”
“Now we face a new choice for 2010 about that fiscal stimulus — whether to continue the stimulus to make sure that a fragile global recovery does not dip into a further recession or whether we take the necessary measures to ensure that growth in 2010 is stronger and more stable.
“So this is the critical question economies round the world face now: whether to go for growth in 2010. Progressive rounds the world say rightly that we have to go for growth and do nothing to put the recovery at risk.
“So instead of helping the recovery, in our country Conservative dislike bordering on hatred of government action would risk the recovery now.”
“And we have been crystal clear that we will halve the deficit over the next four years - indeed more than halve it.
“That does mean that we must raise taxes and cut some programmes. But the vast majority of the increase in our deficit since the global financial crisis hit the UK has been caused by a decline in estimated tax revenue.
“We will remain resolutely focused on progressive priorities — protecting the key front line services and targeting investment to take our country forward.”
“I know that people have been deeply concerned by recent developments on the British right, by the decision of the British Conservative Party to leave the mainstream right grouping in the European Parliament to join an alliance of the extremes and the fringes.
“So let me reassure you today; as long as I remain Prime Minister, Britain will stay firmly in Europe’s mainstream, never in its backwaters, and we will resist the attempts of the Conservatives to pull Britain into isolation and irrelevance.”
Reporting by Matt Falloon, Estelle Shirbon and Adrian Croft