UK’s Brown backs fund to help poorest during downturn

LONDON, (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Gordon  Brown said yesterday the World Bank and leading global economies  would work towards a new fund to help the world’s poorest  through the global recession.

“In the run-up to the London Summit next month, we will work  with the World Bank and our G20 partners to build support for a  new fund specifically to help the world’s poorest through the  downturn,” Brown told an International Development Conference in  London.

“Too often in the past our responses to such crises have  been inadequate or misdirected — promoting economic orthodoxies  that we ourselves have not followed and that  have condemned the world’s poorest to a deepening cycle of  poverty.”

The G20 summit of leading and developing nations, which will  be chaired by Brown in London on April 2, is to focus on the  global economic and financial crisis.
Brown said it offered an opportunity to tackle global  poverty at the same time, without revealing the size of the  fund.

The World Bank’s Managing Director Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala   urged the G20 leaders to pledge 0.7 percent of their recovery  packages for a fund to help the poorest nations.

The money should be added to existing commitments, she told  Reuters in an interview.
Brown said the fund would target the very poorest,  encouraging universal education and allowing people to  contribute to the economy once it picked up again. He said the fund would form part of a global new deal which  must underpin future international policy.

“Now is the time to make the development agenda for  addressing poverty a central part of the global agenda for  restoring growth,” he added.

Brown also called for transparent reporting by companies “so  that developing countries don’t lose their fair share of revenue  through creative accounting”, and new measures to crack down on  tax havens “that siphon off money from developing countries”.

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