Brown hails 'bold' banking bail-out

Gordon Brown hailed the British government’s £50bn (€64bn) bank bail-out plan today, saying it should restore “confidence and trust” to the financial system.

The British Prime Minister told a Downing Street news conference: “Extraordinary times call for the bold and far-reaching solutions that the Treasury has announced today.

“Our stability and restructuring programme is comprehensive, it is specific and it breaks new ground.

“This is not a time for conventional thinking or outdated dogma but for the fresh and innovative intervention that gets to the heart of the problem.”

The Prime Minister said the recovery plan would be funded through increased borrowing but insisted taxpayers would "earn a proper return".

“All these are investments being made by the Government which will earn a proper return for the taxpayer,” he told reporters.

“This support is on commercial terms. We expect to be rewarded for the support we provide.”

Asked if taxes would rise to pay for the package, he said: “This is initially met by borrowing.

“But remember, this is not the American plan. The American plan is to buy up the state assets by state funds.

“The £50bn (€64bn) is to buy shares and therefore we will have a stake in the banks and we will get the upside in the appropriate cases from what we have done.”

Mr Brown said global action was also required, announcing that the UK had put forward plans this morning to other European countries.

“We have invited other European countries to consider proposals we have put to them this morning on medium-term funding and we are in active consultation about how we can adopt a European-wide funding plan. I have spoken to (French) president Sarkozy this morning about this.”

Britain is also in discussions about a meeting of world leaders, he said.

“We are ready to put British proposals to such a meeting.

“This comprehensive set of decisions on stability, on restructuring and on financing are the necessary building blocks to allow banks to return to their basic function of providing cash and investment for families and businesses and thus help the economy move forward.

“These decisions are the best way of providing long-term security for depositors and savers.”

Asked why he would not offer a concrete guarantee to all savers that their deposits were safe, Mr Brown stressed that no one had yet lost out in any of the banks which had hit difficulty, such as Northern Rock and Bradford & Bingley.

The same support was also being given to those with money in troubled Icelandic bank Icesave, he said.

“We are showing by our actions that we stand by people who save in Britain,” he said, promising legal action against the Icelandic authorities to recover the funds.

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