Brown urges action over high oil prices

The Chancellor told the TUC Congress in Brighton that the Government understood the problems being faced by hauliers, farmers and motorists at a time when oil prices were doubling.

"Because we will never be complacent, the first action we must take is to tackle the cause of the problem, ensuring concerted global action is taken to bring down world oil prices and stabilise the market for the long term."

Mr Brown said that because demand for oil was outstripping supply, Opec should decide at its meeting next week to raise production.

He said: "Lack of transparency about the world's reserves and plans for their development undermines stability and causes speculation. The world must call on Opec to become more open and more transparent.

"From the additional 300 billion US dollars a year in revenue Opec countries are now enjoying and the additional 800 billion US dollars available to oil producers, there must be additional new investment in production and global investment in refining capacity.

"The search for alternative sources of energy and greater energy efficiency is urgent to ensure both the maintenance of economic growth and tackling climate change."

Mr Brown said the World Bank should set up a new fund to support developing countries which were investing in alternative sources of energy and greater energy efficiency.

He also pleaded that poor countries should never be left "defenceless" against oil and commodity prices.

"The International Monetary Fund should agree, as a matter of urgency, to create a new facility for countries hit by these shocks.

"Because we have a special duty to help not just the immediate needs but the long term prospects of the poorest of the world, oil producers should now agree to use their windfall revenues to create a special trust fund where oil producers help debt-ridden poor countries right down their unpayable debts."

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