Right of Reply: Nick Herbert

The chief executive of Business for Sterling responds to Diane Coyle's pro-euro article
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The Independent Culture
THE PRO-euro case has surely hit rock bottom if its central charge is that "defenders [of sterling] are a group of elderly men". The average age in Business for Sterling's office is 28 and half the staff are women. But the allegation that ICM's poll of businesses only showed a majority against the euro by "rigging" the figures is untrue. Even the raw data, giving big business 50 times more representation than it should have, shows a majority against the euro.

It is no surprise that the pro-euro lobby cried foul over the poll - last year Adair Turner of the CBI ruled "a completely random survey of businesses would be the ultimate gauge of firms' attitudes to UK membership of EMU", on the grounds that a "complication might arise in reconciling the survey results with the existing CBI position".

Eleven days after the launch of the euro, Adair Turner said that its future looked "promising". Since then, the euro has devalued by 10 per cent against the dollar. The European Commission has resigned and the new Commission's President has declared that EMU is a milestone in the process of European political unification.

Diane Coyle may think that the euro's first 100 days have been rocky. Others will conclude that Europe needs fundamental reform before we could contemplate irrevocably handing over economic control. Businesses have powerful reasons to oppose the euro. They fear the loss of control over interest rates; higher taxation; more regulation; higher employment costs.

The fact that Diane Coyle skis in the Alps and dances in Dublin's nightclubs doesn't entitle her to dismiss legitimate concerns shared by most of the business community. Her metropolitan sneers cheapen the debate.