Be prepared for euro, Brown urges
Wednesday 25 February 1998
The Chancellor's evidence before the Treasury Committee of the House of Commons generated unusual excitement when Quentin Davies, a Tory Euro- enthusiast, accused the Government of "running away from taking a decision" because of pressure from Rupert Murdoch and his stable of newspapers.
But Mr Brown denied the charge that his five economic tests for British membership were a pretence. "Other countries have been preparing for monetary union for almost six years now. We have not made those preparations," he said, explaining the decision to stay out of the first wave.
The Chancellor refused to answer repeated questions about whether the UK would be prepared to veto the membership of any other country which did not meet the strict letter of the Maastricht criteria for membership.
"Over a period of time there have been considerable advances," he said, asked about whether all those countries which wanted to join would meet the targets for the levels of budget deficits and debt set out in the treaty.
Britain, which holds the EU presidency, would look carefully at the reports from the European Commission and European Monetary Institute next month, Mr Brown said. He refused to be drawn on which countries he thought would qualify.
The Chancellor emphasised the practical preparations that would be needed before the UK could join and the need for sustainable economic convergence. He confirmed it would be possible for companies to have their shares quoted and to pay taxes in euros from next January.
Mr Brown said the UK and other European countries had an agenda of economic reform ahead of them. The single currency would satisfy his test on jobs - one of the five set out by the Treasury - if this programme of structural reform was under way by early in the next parliament.
Separately, Helen Liddell, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, launched a green paper on the future of official statistics. The paper set out four options for an independent national statistical service.
Ms Liddell said there were widespread doubts about the validity of many statistics, and the Government attached the greatest importance to improving their integrity. The option under which some departments would keep control of their statistics, subject to an independent commission or governing board, looks the most likely outcome.
- 2 Top Gear: Jodie Kidd, Philip Glenister and Guy Martin 'in advanced talks' to join show
- 3 General Election 2015: 14-year-old boy asks Nick Clegg – 'can you kill Katie Hopkins?'
- 4 University student in court for allegedly covering housemates' food in window cleaner and spit
Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
Mysterious 'X-Files' sounds heard miles above the Earth
University student in court for allegedly covering housemates' food in window cleaner and spit
Garland shooting: Isis claims attack on Prophet Mohamed cartoon contest in Texas as its first action on US soil
Met Gala 2015: Beyoncé manages to out-skimp Rihanna, Miley and Kim Kardashian combined with near-naked ensemble
In defence of liberal democracy
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
Andy McSmith's Sketch: Feisty audience is the real star of an enlightening show
iJobs Money & Business
£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Can you speak German,...
£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An exciting opportunity f...
£215 per day: Ashdown Group: Junior Project Manager (website, web application ...
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software Engineer / Softw...