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Technology investment to rescue economy

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has called for more investment in technology and eco-friendly industries to boost the economy through the recession.

Speaking at the Global Europe conference on 9 December, Brown told business and political leaders that it is essential to "build the technological and environmental infrastructure of the 21st century" just as previous generations had invested in transport.

Telecommunications, environment related industries and new environmental technologies should be the key areas of focus for investment, he said.

"We have looked at how, just as many years ago investment in road and rail and infrastructure was a powerful stimulus to the economies then, so too in this new age we can invest in the digital infrastructure for the future," said Brown.

"So a digital, low carbon, environmentally friendly Europe, highly skilled to face the challenges of the world, is something that I believe is the vision that we have got to put forward as we move through this downturn and plan for the future."

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso also attended the event, following talks at Downing Street with the Prime Minister.

Industry representatives from Vodafone, Tesco and British Telecom, the National Grid, Corus, Prudential and Diageo also attended the talks at Number 10.

Brown's comments echo those made by European Commission president José Manuel Barroso who, earlier this month, called on member states to make "smart investments" in technology during the recession, and modernise Europe's infrastructure, in particular high-speed broadband.

The UK has already announced a stimulus plan designed to drive funds into the faltering economy, where technology investment plays a large role.

Earlier this week, US President elect Barack Obama pledged a fiscal stimulus package, with a price tag ranging from $700 billion to $1 trillion, that is likely to lead to major IT spending increases.

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