Brown: UK will master 2008 challenges

Gordon Brown has big plans for 2008
Gordon Brown has big plans for 2008

Next year's "real and serious changes" will be built on the government's commitment to maintaining economic stability, Gordon Brown has said.

Outlining the government's plans for 2008 in his new year message, the prime minister said reforms relied on the "foundation" of a strong British economy despite ongoing turbulence in international markets.

He pledged "unbending determination" in maintaining low inflation and interest rates despite the global credit crunch, many analysts' predictions of a sustained economic slowdown in the coming 12 months.

"Just as we withstood the Asia crisis, the American recession, the end of the IT bubble and the trebling of oil prices and continued to grow, Britain will meet and master this new challenge," he said.

"We will make the right decisions, not only this year but for the years ahead, to safeguard and strengthen our economy. I promise to take no risks with stability."

Mr Brown said the passing of pension reform legislation, decisions on energy security and environmental commitments in the climate change bill would be prioritised.

In an echo of his predecessor Tony Blair's commitment to 'choice', the prime minister said next year would see public services "becoming more personal" to the "wishes and aspirations" of Britons.

At his most expansive on education and developing children's skills, Mr Brown said today's generation was the first in which the "ideal" to "unlock all the talents of all young people" could be achieved.

"All these policies reflect our shared vision of a new Britain rooted in enduring traditions and values. A Britain, strong, prosperous and fair," he added.

"A country proud of its progress toward equality and confident of its future. That is what I want to see when we look back on another New Year's Day years from now."

Mr Brown concluded: "We will only achieve this through hard, persistent effort and by continuing to reach out to all who want to see a better Britain - not the old politics, but new policies equal to the demands of a new time."


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