LONDON (AFP) The British government’s massive bank rescue plan was broadly welcomed on Thursday, as Prime Minister Gordon Brown urged European counterparts to follow suit to help begin thawing the global credit freeze.
The government announced an 500 billion-pound package Wednesday that involved a possible part-nationalisation of several of Britain’s main banks and a guarantee of inter-bank lending, and provided short-term funds for banks.
Brown also wrote to other European Union leaders – who will meet for a regular summit in Brussels next week – suggesting that if it were implemented in a coordinated way it could unblock frozen credit markets.
‘This is an issue which affects us all. A concerted approach with national schemes … would address this problem,’ he wrote in a letter to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who currently holds the EU presidency.
Britain’s opposition parties have backed the plan, with the Conservatives offering ‘constructive support for the package’ while the Liberal Democrats said they were behind the government’s proposals.
The plan was also welcomed by the country’s media despite its ‘eye-wateringly expensive’ price tag, with the right-of-centre Times newspaper hailing it as an ‘intelligent and measured response to the financial crisis’ while the right-wing Daily Telegraph said it put the government ‘on the front foot’.