|Buy Britain, says Brown Posted by Jamie at 8 01 PM on Saturday, November 1|
GORDON Brown tonight begged super-rich Arabs: Buy Britain!
The PM called for Gulf states which have made trillions from oil to pour money into UK companies and boost our economy.
The plea came as voters at home were being urged to “Buy British” to keep firms afloat and safeguard jobs.
And it came after Barclays bank secured a controversial £7.3billion rescue package from Abu Dhabi and Qatar and Manchester City football club was taken over in a £210million deal.
Mr Brown sent out the call as he began a four-day trade visit to the region accompanied by top UK businessmen and Business Secretary Peter Mandelson.
He was met on arrival in Saudi capital Riyadh by a delegation headed by billionaire foreign minister Prince Saud al-Faisal.
The PM — who also set out a five-point plan to save the world economy — had said on the way over: “The Gulf states are an increasingly important source of inward investment to the UK.
“Britain has always been an open economy and we have benefited substantially from our openness to trade and inward investment which has led to the creation and protection of jobs.”
Gulf states are keen to invest their vast fortunes from oil reserves, known as sovereign wealth funds, in projects overseas. Mr Brown added: “As long as they play by our rules and operate in a commercial manner we welcome investment from sovereign wealth funds."
The call followed the Barclays deal which sparked a row because it meant bosses can still pocket huge bonuses they would have been denied if they had accepted a Government bailout.
France has aggressively targeted investment from the Gulf but other countries, including America, are wary. The US Congress blocked an Arab bid to buy ports because of security concerns.
Meanwhile hard-up British taxpayers are being asked to “buy local” and spend what cash they have at home.
Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg said last week: “Economic recovery starts at home, so consumers should be proud to buy British and buy local.”
Mr Brown will also use his trip to ask Gulf states to help bail out the global economy.
He wants them to inject hundreds of billions into the International Monetary Fund which is used to rescue crisis-hit economies.
Another part of his plan is to draw up a coordinated fiscal policy across the world on borrowing, taxing and spending.
He also seeks to clean up the financial industry with new rules and transparency and a stronger banking system through re-capitalisation.
He added: “My concern is helping British families get through the global downturn fairly. We are facing a global economic problem that requires a global economic solution.”
Brown also hopes to learn how to stop home-grown terrorism from experts in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia’s interior minister, Prince Mohammed bin Naif, has experience in stopping vulnerable young Muslims being brainwashed by fanatics.
Mr Brown told The News of the World: “I will be talking to the Saudis about the progress they have made in tackling radicalism and preventing the brain washing that lures young people into committing acts of terror.
“I hope to see at first hand how they are using education, and the special role they have in the Muslim world, to take on the language and beliefs of terrorist extremism.”
Saudi authorities have brought in moderate mullahs to teach those at risk of being turned into terrorists the truth about Islam.
The PM will see if any of their methods can be imported to tackle home grown terrorism in Britain.
Saudi Arabia has struggled to shake its reputation for producing Islamic fundamentalist terrorists.
Osama bin Laden is a Saudi, as were 15 of the 19 September 11 hijackers.
However the Saudi government is making strides to fight terrorism.
Last week it was revealed it had indicted 991 people on charges of participating in terrorist attacks carried out over the past five years.
Terrorists have been responsible for more than 30 attacks in Saudi Arabia since May 2003.
Those attacks killed 164 people and wounded 657.
The Saudi authorities say they have foiled 60 attacks during that time.
A year ago Saudis’ king Abdullah accused Britain of not doing enough to fight national terrorism which he said could take 20 or 30 years to be stopped.
He made the controversial remarks ahead of a state visit to the UK-the first by a Saudi monarch for 20 years.