Market Woes have Tested Financial System: Brown

Turmoil in global markets has tested the stability of the British financial system but the economy remains strong, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said on Monday.

A credit crunch in the world financial system hit Britain hard over the past fortnight as Northern Rock, Britain's fifth-biggest mortgage lender, had to seek emergency help from the Bank of England, prompting a run on the bank.

Thousands queued to get their money out of Northern Rock for three business days until the government guaranteed all deposits last week and ended Britain's first bank run in more than a century.

"Our commitment to stability has been tested again and again over 10 years: the Asian crisis, the Russian crisis, the American recession, the trebling of oil prices," said Brown.

"In the last month a wave of financial turbulence that started in America and then Germany ... has impacted on all countries including the United Kingdom and tested the stability

of our financial system," he said in his first speech to the annual Labour party conference as leader.

"Yesterday (finance minister) Alistair Darling set out how we will continue to respond with the same calm vigilance that he has demonstrated over recent weeks."

Darling on Sunday told the conference that the government would learn the lessons of Northern Rock and be ready to change to ensure stability.

He said there would be moves to protect savers and improve regulation and supervision both in Britain and internationally.