Chancellor Gordon Brown yesterday announced he has recruited some of the world's leading business figures to advise the Government on the challenges of globalisation.

The International Business Advisory Council includes Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy, BP group chief executive Lord Browne and GlaxoSmithKline chief executive Jean-Pierre Garnier.

In an eve-of-Budget statement, Mr Brown said: "There is no more important question for advanced industrial countries today than how to rise to the challenges and opportunities of globalisation.

"I am delighted that some of the world's leading business people have agreed to join this new advisory council.

"The council will advise on how we can do more to rise to the challenges we face and ensure that the UK remains one of the world's key locations of choice for high value-added activity."

The announcement is likely to be seen as an attempt by Mr Brown to burnish his business credentials ahead of the Budget today.

The panel - which will run initially for three years - will meet once a year at 11 Downing Street and will advise Mr Brown and Trade and Industry Secretary Alan Johnson.

The Treasury said that its remit would be to discuss policies to improve UK competitiveness.

The other members are Sir John Rose, the chief executive of Rolls-Royce; Lee Scott, the president and chief executive of Wal-Mart; Robert Rubin, director and executive committee chairman of Citigroup; Meg Whitman, president and chief executive of eBay; James Wolfensohn, former president of the World Bank; Bernard Arnault, chairman and chief executive of LVHM; Sir Ka-shing Li, chairman of Hutchison Whampoa; and Ratan Tata, chairman of Tata Group.