Defiant Brown prepares to face down Labour rebels; address digital divide

Gordon Brown will seek to end the corrosive speculation surrounding his premiership today with a speech in which he will promise to extend the welfare state, close the digital divide and steer Britain through the global fiscal turmoil.

Rather than dwelling on the setbacks and mistakes of the past 12 months, Brown will unveil a series of initiatives specifically aimed at lifting families and pensioners who are most vulnerable to the steep economic downturn, including computers and free broadband access for children deprived of internet usage.

He will tell delegates that to “ensure we are prepared for the times to come” he will spend £300m over the next three years giving 1.4 million children access to the internet with free broadband and computers.

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