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Engineering companies want single currency

The majority of engineering companies are in favour of joining the single European currency, but two-thirds would only want to go in at an exchange rate below DM2.65 to the pound. A survey of 3,500 companies in this heavily export-oriented sector organised by the Engineering Employers' Federation and Lloyds Bank found that 58 per cent favoured entry to Emu "when economic conditions were appropriate" and 33 per cent favoured joining "soon after 2002". Only 8 per cent rejected membership. On the other hand, only one in 10 had made any preparations for the start of the single currency. Most blamed a lack of government direction for their inaction.

Graham Mackenzie, the EEF's director general, said: "We are seeing a distinct shift in opinions amongst our member companies." Two years ago a fifth had opposed membership, he said. Adair Turner, director general of the CBI, said: "These results underline the CBI's belief that the clear majority of British businesses support the principle of UK entry into Emu."