Gordon Brown has delivered an upbeat message about the impact the G20 Summit will have on the West Midlands’ economy.
US President Barack Obama will undoubtedly receive a warm welcome from all British people. Other world leaders may not all be as well-known or glamorous but we are delighted that they are coming to Britain. However, there will also be a degree of scepticism about what the jamboree in the capital will really achieve. The G20 will cost millions of pounds but will anything be different once it is over?
The Prime Minister appears to recognise that posing for photographs with Mr Obama will not impress voters. Instead, he hopes to convince us that the talks really will lead to help for businesses, allowing the economy to grow and ending the on-going rise in unemployment.
Early talk about creating a global consensus around the need for fiscal stimulus – public spending increases, in other words – has died down. But he did hold out hope of agreement on measures to get credit flowing again, allowing firms to trade and exporters to find markets overseas.
This would help businesses such as Jaguar Land-Rover in the West Midlands, among others.
And the Prime Minister also repeated calls for reforms to banking regulations, to ensure that the credit crunch can never be repeated.
He will know, however, that despite his calls for unity, he faces a real struggle to convince other nations to avoid one of the biggest threats to the global economy, a surge in protectionism. There is evidence that countries such as France and the US are attempting to protect their own markets at the expense of free trade.This is understandable, but counter-productive. Nothing will set back recovery more than the closure of world markets.