Obama shows Darling how it?s done

In his inaugural State of the Union address the US president said the country’s asset relief programme would release $30bn to help community banks dish out loans to credit-starved small businesses.

It came as part of Obama’s ‘stimulus package’, seen as his final kick to improve America’s economic fortunes. Though thin on details, the president said he would pour money into job creation before tightening fiscal policy from 2011.

He also urged Congress to take on his plans for a hiring tax credit for small businesses, as well incentives for environmentally friendly upgrades for homes and more money for US infrastructure.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the address tackled "the anger and frustration that Americans are facing about the economy – getting back on track", and added that the President is "more hopeful about the future than ever".

In his address Obama said: "People are out of work. They are hurting. They need our help. And I want a jobs bill on my desk without delay."

He added: "Change has not come fast enough. I do not accept second-place for the United States of America."

With its emphasis on the economy, Obama’s address will have been closely-watched by Alistair Darling, the UK chancellor and prime minister Gordon Brown, both anxious to improve fortunes for British business ahead of an upcoming general election.

Earlier this week, official figures revealed that the UK inched out of recession in the final three months of 2009. albeit at a paltry rate of 0.1 per cent.

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