Brown meets with business leaders

15-04-2008

Brown meets with business leaders
Gordon Brown is holding discussions with senior figures from the City in Downing Street today.

The prime minister will discuss general issues related to the economy, amid the ongoing credit crunch, which has caused prolonged turbulence on global financial markets.

Yesterday Downing Street were keen to downplay the significance of the talks in terms of a "crisis meeting", pointing out Mr Brown regularly holds discussions with business leaders and had previously done so as chancellor.

The prime minister's spokesperson said the meeting would be preparatory to Mr Brown's upcoming visit to the US, which is scheduled to include meetings on Wall Street.

But it seems clear the current crisis – which is driving the government's popularity steadily downwards in the polls – will be top of his agenda as he meets with City figures today.

Yesterday the Conservatives attacked on the government's economic competence, with shadow chancellor George Osborne dismissing Mr Brown's strong reputation when chancellor as in "tatters" now he has taken the top job.

The prime minister is concentrating on the business sector today, however, with a speech on energy due later this evening.

"With the oil price now at $100 a barrel, both oil producing and consuming countries share common interests for the stability of the global oil market," he will say.

"The market needs to be adequately supplied and oil-producing countries have their responsibility to respond to higher oil prices."

Mr Brown is also set for a separate meeting on the housing crisis next week. He will discuss the situation, which according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) is at its worst for three decades, in a meeting with mortgage lenders.

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