PM wants anti-poverty action from big business

Today's event is taking place in Canary Wharf
Today's event is taking place in Canary Wharf

Gordon Brown has told businesses he wants them to take action in the fight against poverty.

The prime minister was backing an event highlighting corporate efforts towards cutting poverty around the world.

Mr Brown has called for a "year of action" to tackle poverty in the developing world and hopes showcasing efforts from major companies will help save lives and boost struggling economies.

Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Vodafone and Citi are among the companies taking part and are highlighting their initiatives in the hope other firms will follow their lead.

"We know without an extraordinary effort we will fail, and to get the millennium development goals back on track we will need everyone to play their part," Mr Brown commented.

"Some argue it's the presence of big international corporations that are the problem - I disagree," he added.

"It is the absence of business, not the presence of business that blights the lives of poor people."

He said 14 million more children were at school since 2000 as a result of businesses' efforts and pointed to Thomson Reuters' text messaging news service for Indian farmers as an example of "harnessing the potential of innovation".

The event follows Mr Brown's speech to the UN in July last year, when he called for increased efforts on delivering the millennium development goals by 2015.

Economic growth has lifted over 500 million people out of poverty in the last 25 years, the prime minister said.

"It is in your best interest as businesses to bring the poorest countries into the global economy," he pressed.


Politics @ Lunch

Friday lunchtime. Your Inbox. It's a date.