Britain can do well in new world, says Brown

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Indy Politics

Gordon Brown insisted today that Britain could do "well indeed" out of the present challenges facing the country.

Speaking in Birmingham ahead of the first Cabinet meeting to be held outside London since 1921, the Prime Minister said the current period was one of "astonishing change".

But, striking an upbeat note with representatives of business, charities and the public sector from the West Midlands, he went on to say that the UK could benefit over the next 20 years.

Citing the global credit crunch, climate change and an ageing population, Mr Brown said it would take a collective effort, however.

Speaking in the International Convention Centre, Mr Brown said: "We can do well indeed, but we have got to work out together how we can make our way in what is a new world of new change that is hitting all of us."

Before the formal Cabinet meeting this afternoon, Mr Brown and his senior ministers were taking part in round-table discussions with about 200 people at the ICC.

Earlier, every member of the Cabinet made visits around the West Midlands, themed around issues including community policing, manufacturing, health, jobs and skills.

Speaking to the ICC, Mr Brown said: "This is an astonishing period of change.

"We have seen the global credit crunch, we have seen the trebling of oil prices.

"I see every day, as you must, the effect on people's standards of living, the prices at the petrol pump, because of gas and electricity bills, because of rising food prices.

"These are all problems that are arising because we are now in a global economy."

The Prime Minister said further pressures were coming from "huge" economic competition, from China and Asia and climate change.

Mr Brown added: "These are the sorts of things that can only be resolved and talked about when the country, the people of the country, and the Government talk together.

"What I'm looking for is a dialogue that can lead to a consensus about what we can do, so that we can work in partnership to make for a stronger country."

Mr Brown predicted that the world economy would double over the next 20 years, but added: "I have got no doubt that we, with our skills, our ingenuity, our talent and our genius as a country, particularly the genius that has been shown by this region from the years of the Industrial Revolution, we can do well indeed."