Brown to UN: Age of irresponsibility is over

Gordon Brown has addressed the UN general assembly as part of his plans to create a new regulatory framework for the markets, calling for an end to “the age of financial irresponsibility”.

The prime minister will also be meeting with president George Bush, to convince him of the need for further international market oversight.

The US is currently in spasms of uncertainty over Mr Bush’s $700 billion (£377 billion) injection to avoid economic collapse.

Mr Brown told the assembly the world had entered a period of “global turbulence”, and that leaders had to “build a new financial order”.

In an impassioned speech, Mr Brown said: “For the first time in human history we have the opportunity to come together to create a new global covenant and a true global society.

“Our history is not our destiny. It is what we choose to make it,” he continued.

“Let history record ours was a true global response to the world first global crisis.”

Mr Brown tied countries’ commitment to the Millenuim Development Goals to the current crisis, and called for international efforts against poverty and climate change to form part of the UN’s response to the current economic chaos.

The Tories ridiculed the comments. George Osborn, shadow chancellor said: “Gordon Brown has now accurately described his time in office as the ‘age of irresponsibility’.

“For ten years he presided over a debt fuelled boom and failed to call time on debt. The age of irresponsibility has now become the age of hypocrisy.”

The prime minister has relied on his ability to create lasting change out of the current chaos as a lifesaver from his political problems at home.

He used his Labour conference speech earlier this week to promise a new settlement following weeks of financial uncertainty. He has promised action on City bonuses, transparency and financial regulation.

Yesterday, in a brief press conference, he called for greater cooperation from national states and an international global warning system for financial problems.

“Although this started in America, there are consequences for other countries, and we can work together to solve the problem,” he said.

A recent Comres poll for the BBC suggested voters trust Labour with the economy and remain uncertain of Conservative financial competence.

Thirty-six per cent trust Mr Brown and Alistair Darling, chancellor, with the economy while only 30 per cent trust David Cameron and George Osborn, the shadow chancellor.

Mr Brown’s initiative comes as figures released by the World Bank suggest 1.4 billion people will continue to live in abject poverty in third world countries in 2015 – 400 million more than previous estimates.

War on Want executive director John Hilary said: “Governments seem to have bottomless pockets when it comes to saving banks from their own failings.

“Yet there is no such action to protect the poorest from the ravages of finance capital. Leaders at the UN summit should examine their consciences and put the needs of the poor before the interests of the banking elite.”