Britain says the world’s economies must stick together against the recession, saying faint signs of recovery could lead to complacency. Prime Minister Gordon Brown told G20 finance ministers in London that emergency stimulus measures must stay in place despite what appears to be a gradual improvement from the worst downturn in 60 years.
There is general agreement on maintaining economic life-support, but divisions have arisen over reforming the banks. “We cannot accept a return to the past ways of governance,” said Brown. “Specifically, pay and bonuses cannot reward failure or encourage unacceptable risk-taking. It is offensive to the general public whose tax payers’ money, in different ways, has helped banks from collapsing and is now underpinning their recovery.” Bank reform is expected to dominate this G20 meeting. Washington has proposed tightening bank capital requirements to curb risky lending, but Paris and Berlin prefer restricting pay and bonuses to prevent the excesses which encourage such risks and sparked the recession. President Sarkozy has even called for a global bank tax, but Britain and America are firmly against that.