The G8 summit risks disappointing anti-poverty campaigners like Bob Geldof and Bono, Chancellor Gordon Brown admitted today.
Ministers have “worked well” with the Live 8 organisers, Mr Brown said on the eve of the gathering in Gleneagles, Scotland.
But the UK is constrained by other countries and the famous activists will always call on the British government to do more.
Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Mr Brown revealed that he told them: “I know that what you will tell us we’ve got to do more.
“I know that what you will say is that what we can achieve is perhaps not good enough, but we have got to bring the whole of the world together.
“What Britain says is one thing, what we can persuade the rest of the world to do together is what we will get as the outcome of Gleneagles.”
Development aid for Africa and action on global warming are Tony Blair’s ambitious twin aims for the smmit which brings together the UK, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Russia and the US.
But President George Bush has already said he will not sign up to anything that damages the US economy.
The senior British official heading the preparatory talks yesterday warned that the final hours leading up to tomorrow’s summit could be the most difficult.
Sir Michael Jay, the Foreign Office Permanent Under Secretary, said the so-called “sherpas” held “pretty intense discussions” over the weekend to thrash out a deal.
“I very much hope it will be possible to reach a consensus agreement on climate change at Gleneagles,” he said.
“I don’t want to be over-optimistic because we have got 48 hours to go, and the last 48 hours of negotiations are often the most difficult.
“But I do sense a desire, if possible, to reach agreement on the issue.”
These neotiations are complicated by tomorrow’s announcement in Singapore of which city will host 2012 Olympic Games.
Anglo-French relations, already poor, have not been helped by President Jacques Chirac’s jokes about British food and BSE.
However, British officials fear that if London takes the Games instead of rivals Paris Mr Chirac would take revenge in Gleneagles.
Poor relations with Germany also threaten progress although foreign minister Joschka Fischer yesterday insisted his country remained committed to aid for Africa.
The chancellor spoke of his frustration ahead of the three-day summit, which has already seen violent clashes between protesters and police before it has officially started.
“It makes you angry because there’s nothing in science or technology or medicine that should prevent us from tackling poverty,” he said.
“It’s a lack of political will and if Gleneagles is about anything it’s bringing together all the countries of the world – rich and poor – agreeing that we’ve got to take the action that’s necessary.
“That’s why I hope by the time Gleneagles is finishd we can say that the timetable for action and poverty is one that will lead to great improvements by that year 2015.”