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Brown unveils plan to create jobs

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown unveiled plans for a 1930s American-style programme of public works to check recession affects by creating up to 100,000 jobs and build a low-carbon economy.

world Updated: Jan 04, 2009 10:29 IST

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Sunday unveiled plans for a 1930s American-style programme of public works to check recession affects by creating up to 100,000 jobs and build a low-carbon economy.

School repairs, new rail links, hospital projects and plans to usher in a new digital age by investing in superfast broadband will be used to keep unemployment down. Other key priorities for 2009 include an international agreement to reduce carbon emissions.

If Obama asks for more British troops for a surge in Afghanistan he may be disappointed, with the prime minister insisting that the priorities were to strengthen Afghan governance and involve Pakistan in fighting terrorism.

"The first question everybody starts by is saying 'What about the numbers?', but actually the first question is purpose and objectives and how we can achieve them," he said.

"We have increased our numbers in the past few weeks; we are the second-largest force in Afghanistan."

Speaking to the Observer, the prime minister pledged action within weeks to kickstart bank lending in an attempt to save existing jobs.

Brown even claimed his green plans would be bigger than Obama's planned multi-billion-dollar "Green New Deal", relative to the size of Britain's economy.

Brown is studying a scheme pioneered by Nissan to avoid redundancies in manufacturing which would see ailing firms given government funding to move staff on to part-time working and use the remaining time for training.

During the interview, Brown ruled out an early second recapitalisation of the banks; signalled opposition to deploying more British troops in Afghanistan and proclaimed a "historic opportunity" for an international deal on climate change.