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Brown tries to reassure British about economy

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Brown tries to reassure British about economy

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Gordon Brown has responded to criticism of his leadership by saying he is confident “Britain’s future is bright” despite the economic downturn. But the British prime minister also said there would be no easy way out of the crisis, offering little compromise to angry trade unions meeting in Brighton this week. He was speaking in Birmingham where he gathered his ministers for a rare out-of-town cabinet meeting.

Foreign Affairs Secretary David Miliband said: “I’m absolutely convinced that Gordon can lead us to victory, that he’s a man of enormous integrity, values, drive and vision and I think that we’re going to prove people wrong.”

Brown and his government have come under stinging attacks by union leaders gathered for a week-long conference. They are demanding better pay and higher taxes on top earners.

Brown faces a new winter of discontent with public sector unions threatening to strike in protest at below-inflation pay rises in a country hit by the global economic downturn. Labour trails the conservatives in opinion polls with the next general election scheduled in 2010.