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Issue Guide: Britain and the Global Financial Crisis

May 2009


London, alongside New York, entered the financial crisis as one of the major hubs of global finance. The British bank Northern Rock was the first large commercial bank to require emergency government funding as a result of the crisis. Falling British housing prices contributed to London's woes. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown was credited for his bank bailout plan, however, which created a template later followed across Europe and in the United States. But Britain's economists expect a persistent recession, and the British currency, the pound, has fared poorly outside the relative shelter of the eurozone. Britain also played a major role coordinating an international response to the crisis. London hosted the April 2009 G-20 meetings, and Brown drafted an ambitious plan for fixing international financial regulation ahead of the meetings. Following the meetings, however, the British finance ministry announced more bad news, revealing that the country would not break even on its banking interventions and could wind up losing roughly $87 billion.

The following is a list of resources on the British economy and how it has been affected by the crisis.

What Went Wrong

First Response

Fixing the Banks

Looking to the Future

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