Brown: 'Marshall Plan' will eradicate poverty

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Gordon Brown outlined his vision yesterday for a "modern Marshall plan" to take a historic step towards eradicating world poverty.

He said Britain would use its presidency of the G8 to call for international support for moves to eradicate debt for the world's poorest countries, reform trade and double aid to $50bn (about £27bn) a year for a decade.

In a major speech in Edinburgh designed to launch Britain's aid efforts at the start of the G8 presidency, Mr Brown urged the world's richest countries to act to tackle poverty in Africa or see the failure of the Millennium Development Goals to cut poverty.

Referring to the American aid effort to rebuild Europe after the Second World War, Mr Brown called for a repeat of the programme developed by the then Secretary of State, General George Marshall.

The Chancellor said: "Marshall's early thoughts were for small sums of money in emergency aid, but very soon his searching analysis brought him to the conclusion that a historic offer of unprecedented sums of money was required.

"I believe in 2005 we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to deliver for our times a modern Marshall Plan for the developing world... one in which the developing countries are not supplicants, but partners."

He added: "I am aware... that the promises we all made five years ago will forever remain unfulfilled unless we act together and act now."