Gains And Losses: What Industry And The Unions Think About Single Currency Plans

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Richard Branson, Virgin Group chairman

"British businesses will have to adapt to it one day, so they ought to adapt to it today. Our Megastore in Oxford Street accepts euro cheques and credit cards. It was relatively easy to change as we already accept a range of currencies."

Ruth Lea, head of policy, The Institute of Directors

"We shouldn't join for the foreseeable future. There isn't proper economic convergence between Britain and the other countries of Euroland. We must also wait and see whether the European Central Bank is competent to do the job."

Ken Jackson, general secretary of the Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union

"The Government is absolutely right to make plans for joining the euro. What we need next is the date for an early referendum. UK industry has no future outside the euro."

Sir Stanley Kalms, chairman of Dixons Group

"This is an extraordinary decision to encourage people to start investing, way before any referendum. We are talking about massive investments... it would have a dramatic detrimental effect on our broader expansion plans."

John Monks, General Secretary of the TUC

"This [the changeover plan] is an impressive piece of work, made more convincing by the way Government has worked with business and unions. Now there is a chance for consultation on how Britain might make the changeover to the Euro."

Niall FitzGerald, chairman of Unilever

"We are convinced that there are real benefits to be gained by Britain joining the single currency - lower and more transparent prices; a more stable economy; and a better business climate. Britain cannot afford to be half-in and half-out."

Lord Alexander, chairman of National Westminster Bank

"What we need is as much clarity and as much notice as possible." It would take three years to adapt the bank's systems if Britain joins the euro. Last year, it spent pounds 45m as a result of the euro.