No 10 team united 'but not magicians'

Gordon Brown has put Business Secretary Lord Mandelson in charge of shaping the Government's core message about the recession - as Number 10 aides question what more can be done to bolster the PM's reputation.

It emerged this week that Peter Mandelson is chairing a new Cabinet-level committee to consider how to communicate the plethora of measures already in place to support business. He is also understood to be undertaking a broader review of 'recession language'.

A senior Downing Street source told PRWeek the new committee was just part of a wider attempt by Number 10 to improve its communications about the recession. 'In the current circumstances, it's difficult for us to be heard,' the source admitted. 'We've had to do a lot of stuff at break-neck speed and making sense of it for businesses and ordinary people is a tough job.'

Another source with a direct line to Downing Street told PRWeek of mounting frustration with Brown: 'It's more fundamental than his inability to communicate. It's the fact that he's become synonymous with boom and bust, coupled with his refusal to admit responsibility for anything - and all his other inadequacies as a leader.'

The source added: 'On the Number 10 front, his team are quite united, working together pretty well, without the chaos there was last year. But they're not magicians, so there's not much they can do about the economy - or about Gordon.'

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