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MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: Britain’s Finance Chief Gordon Brown will be confirmed as the next prime minister today. He takes over for Tony Blair next month, just as the country’s economic prospects are beginning to darken. From London, Stephen Beard has more.
STEPHEN BEARD: In Britain’s parliamentary system, voters elect a party. It’s the party that chooses the leader. So as Tony Blair leaves office in midterm, his Labour Party is set to crown Gordon Brown as his successor.
Brown was the obvious choice. Under his 10-year stint as finance chief, Britain has prospered, but the good times could be grinding to a halt.
Britain’s central bank has just hinted that UK interest rates may have to go much higher. Some economists warn there are difficult times ahead. Andrew Hilton of the CSFI think tank says Britain’s long property boom could quickly turn to bust.
ANDREW HILTON: The next recession in the UK will be very sharp indeed, precisely because so much of our wealth is tied up in housing which effectively is, at the moment at least, a bubble.
At least, say the commentators, Gordon Brown should suit a chillier economic climate. Unlike the sunnier, more extravagant Tony Blair, Brown is by nature dour and tight-fisted.
In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.
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