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.
- 1 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 2 Husband and wife die holding hands within hours of each other after 67 years of marriage
- 3 What color is The Dress, white and gold or blue and black? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
- 4 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
- 5 Fearne Cotton quits Radio 1 after ten years for 'family and new adventures'
Boris Nemtsov shot dead: Outspoken Putin critic who had expressed fears for his life is shot dead
Leonard Nimoy dead: Star Trek actor dies after suffering lung disease
PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin, says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
What color is The Dress, white and gold or blue and black? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East
iJobs Money & Business
£40000 - £50000 per annum + pro rata: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...
£30000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established in 1999, a highly r...
£250-£300 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Are you a qualified accountant with strong exp...
£230 - £260 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Do you want to stamp your footprint in histo...