Gordon Brown speaks at opening of G20 summit

Gordon Brown has pledged an end to bankers’ bonuses and payouts which reward failure and encourage risk, saying they were ‘an offence’ to the taxpayer.

The Prime Minister used the opening of today’s G20 summit of finance ministers to outline his stance on the tentative economic recovery and his plans for the future.

The talks are expected to be dominated by disputes over how to prevent a repeat of the risk taking in the finance sector blamed for the global recession.

While the UK are resisting proposals from France to cap payouts for bankers, claiming they are unenforceable, Brown promised there would be “no return to the past ways of governance”. He said: “Pay and bonuses cannot reward failure or encourage unacceptable risk-taking. It is offensive to the general public, whose taxpayers’ money in different ways has helped many banks from collapsing and is now underpinning their recovery.”

This weekend's summit comes as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecast positive growth and countries, including France, Germany and Japan, showed signs they were emerging from the recession.

Brown heralded the tentative recovery, but warned world leaders that withdrawing measures introduced to tackle the recession too early would be an ‘error of historic proportions’.

He claimed the fiscal stimulus programmes of increased public spending and tax cuts had prevented the world’s economies plunging into depression on the scale of the 1930s and must be sustained into 2010.

He said: “It is clear in my view that too early a withdrawal of vital support could undermine the tentative signs of recovery we are now seeing and lead to a further downward lurch in business and consumer confidence, reducing growth and employment and worsening governments’ debt problems over the longer term.

“The stakes are simply too high to get these judgments wrong, so to decide now that it is time to start withdrawing or reversing the exceptional measures we have taken would, in my judgment, be a serious mistake.

“On the contrary, with more than half of the 5 trillion fiscal expansion yet to start, I believe that the prudent course is for G20 countries to deliver those fiscal plans and the stimulus packages that have been put in place and make sure they are implemented in full both this year and next.”

Protesters wearing masks of the G20 leaders gathered for a small demonstration in the City of London yesterday ahead of the meeting.

Waving placards saying "Stop letting money rule the world," they called for ministers to do more to protect ordinary people from the impact of the global downturn.


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