Business divided down the middle over euro policy

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The Independent Online
BUSINESS LEADERS are sharply divided over whether the UK should sign up to the European single currency, according to a survey published today.

Some 43 per cent said they would vote against abandoning the pound, just behind the 47 per cent who said they were in favour of membership of the euro club.

More than half of the 251 managers polled had major concerns about whether the euro would be financially viable, considering its current weakness on the foreign exchanges. Three-quarters of respondents to the Institute of Management survey said the Government was wrong in its National Change- over Plan to expect organisations to invest in preparing to do business as a euro-nation without a firm indication that it will join.

The Government has committed to joining the euro in principle, but has ruled it out in the current Parliament. Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, has pledged a referendum on the issue and laid out a five-point test that must be satisfied before the UK signs up to monetary union (Emu).

On the positive side, the IM survey showed Britain is getting to grips with doing business in euros, with almost a quarter having a euro-banking facility.

n The CBI today begins a survey of almost 5,000 of its members on whether they support signing up to the euro.