Blame Economic Crisis on the Failings of Banks, Says Brown

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Byline: NICHOLAS CECIL

GORDON BROWN was today trying to pin the blame for the economic downturnon financial institutions.

At a private meeting at Goldman Sachs in London this afternoon the PrimeMinister was due to say that inadequate banking practices are to blame forgloom in the markets.

The Government has already urged banks and building societies to pass oninterest rate cuts.

Mr Brown is to say: "People will probably look back to say this is the firstfinancial crisis of this new era of globalisation.

"And behind this lies the under-pricing and under-reporting of risk andoff-balance sheet activities, inadequate credit rating services and morerecently the failure to disclose, in a thorough and systematic way, write-offs.All have served to reduce confidence in a global economy that has moved fromrisk taking to aversion to risk." But finance chiefs have accused the PrimeMinister of trying to deflect voters' anger away from Labour ahead of May'sLondon mayoral and local elections. Ahead of a meeting between

Mr Brown and the chief executives of Barclays, HBOS, HSBC and the Royal Bank ofScotland this morning, one bank boss said: "The whole thing about passing onbase rate cuts is an attempt to shift the blame. …