Tories side with Europe over stimulus plan

The Conservative Party backed Germany and France yesterday in their row with the British Government over how long the global economic bailout should continue.

George Osborne, the shadow Chancellor, accused Gordon Brown of being in "complete denial" over the cost of the measures to stimulate the world economy and said it was time to look for an exit strategy.

Britain has been frustrated by calls from Germany and France to cut support after their economies showed signs of moving out of recession.

Leaders of the three countries put on a united front yesterday ahead of a meeting of finance ministers from the G20 group of nations in London today and tomorrow. They will seek to narrow differences before the G20 leaders meet in Pittsburgh in three weeks. In a letter to their EU partners, Gordon Brown, Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy said: "The crisis is not over and the labour markets will suffer... over the months to come. Together we must send a message from Pittsburgh that we are fully and firmly resolved to implement our stimulus plans."

The leaders reached outline agreement on curbs to banker bonuses and accused bankers of returning to the "reprehensible practices" blamed for causing the financial crisis.

They proposed binding rules linking bonuses to profits; said bankers should not be guaranteed them every year; and that for "significant" payments there should be a clawback mechanism so bankers would not receive them if deals later went wrong.

Differences remain because France wants to cap the bonuses for individual bankers. Britain believes that is unworkable and wants financial watchdogs to intervene only when banks are paying large bonuses. Mr Brown is prepared to look at linking bonuses to "revenues and/or profits".

Mr Sarkozy said yesterday: "Even the English understand that we have to regulate, we have to limit, and that there are unacceptable scandals."

Privately, there is tension over how and when to start tightening fiscal and monetary policies as countries return to growth at different rates.

The Tories turned their fire on Alistair Darling over his interview in The Independent yesterday in which he called on other countries not to scale back their fiscal stimulus plans yet. Mr Osborne said: "There's a fundamental contradiction at the heart of Alistair Darling's argument. He says that he expects, as we do, that Britain will come out of recession this year and yet he wants to go on with large increases in public spending next year, when he knows the country cannot afford it.

"His position has everything to do with the politics of a looming election and nothing to do with the economic interests of the British people."

But Timothy Geithner, the US Treasury Secretary, backed Mr Darling's stance: "We've come a very long way but I think we have to be realistic, we've got a long way to go still."

Mr Darling stuck to his guns in a speech to the Scottish CBI last night. "I believe we can be confident about our prospects for 2010," he said. "But there are still uncertainties and risks that we have to confront. And the biggest risk is to think that the job's done – that recovery is guaranteed. No country can be complacent. We've got to see this through."

That meant supporting the economy now through targeted public spending, rather than cutting back at this crucial time, and fighting protectionism by kickstarting the stalled world trade talks, he said.

The Chancellor called on the G20 to set a March 2010 deadline for tax havens to meet their international obligations or face tough sanctions.

He said HM Revenue & Customs had requested details of at least 100,000 offshore accounts held at more than 300 institutions. That would mean recouping billions of unpaid tax, with an expected £1bn from a deal with Lichtenstein alone.

*Mr Brown said he would be prepared to take a cut in his £192,250-a-year salary during the recession. He told BBC Radio One: "I'm not in this job for the money. If there was an agreement that we could all do that I would be very much part of that."

FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
New Articles
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Volunteer Trustee opportunities now available at The Society for Experimental Biology

Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Volunteer your expertise as Tr...

Early Years Educator

£68 - £73 per day + Competitive rates of pay based on experience: Randstad Edu...

Nursery Nurse

£69 - £73 per day + Competitive London rates of pay: Randstad Education Group:...

Primary KS1 NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam