Brown admits recession far from over

By Matthew West

The prime minister admitted this afternoon the recession was far from over and that the economic path to recovery was still fragile and fraught.

Speaking at a press conference following his meeting with US president Barack Obama at the G20 in Pittsburgh, Gordon Brown said: “The recession is not over. It is not automatic we are going to recover.

“The path to recovery is still very fragile – fragile in the banking system, fragile in the way different economies find difficulties as they move forward.”

Mr Brown said the big debate at the meeting of world leaders from the 20 largest economies in the world today would centre on whether to continue with fiscal and monetary stimuli to combat recession.

He also sought to land a blow on the Conservative party as being out of touch on economic issues, especially the fiscal and economic stimulus. He claimed every country he had had discussions with was clear this remained the right course of action.

He added: “The view in Britain, on the other side of the political divide, is that we should stop it now. I just say to you that would mean more job losses, higher debt, more businesses would have gone under. These are big, big judgments of economic policy we have to make.”

The prime minister is suffering a difficult week ahead of the Labour party conference in Brighton this weekend.

There is still intense pressure on his attorney-general, Baroness Scotland, to quit after revelations that she employed an illegal immigrant in direct contravention of a law she saw through its passage through parliament.

Yesterday one of Mr Brown’s closest allies, and one of the ministers instrumental in the bank bailouts last year Baroness Vadera, announced her resignation from the government in order to become a G20 special adviser.

Jaguar also announced yesterday it would close two West Midlands plants crucial to the production of Land Rover vehicles.

And former home secretary, Charles Clarke, attacked Mr Brown yet again as he called for the prime minister to quit and said there were four or five credible alternatives to the prime minister in the Cabinet.