Plucking up the courage to open a credit card statement after a holiday abroad is never easy. But holidaymakers returning from the Eurozone this summer are in for a shock, according to a study that found most Britons had no clue how many euros a pound is worth.
The average Briton withdrawing cash in France, Spain or any of the 10 other Eurozone countries will find himself significantly poorer than he initially hoped. A survey by FX Currency Services discovered that the average Briton thinks a pound is worth more than seven euros – rather more than the €1.53 it is actually worth.
Despite living in a country that is toying with adopting the euro, almost half of the population admitted to having no idea what the currency was worth. This means that the 17 per cent of those questioned who planned to spend more than £2,000 on holiday this year, would receive at least 12,000 fewer euros than they bargained for.
"Millions of people from the UK travel to the eurozone every year, and so whilst the UK hasn't actually joined the single currency, it is still a fact of life," said Donald Mackenzie, the managing director of FX Currency Services,. "It looks like the Government has a lot of educating to do before they think about recommending the UK joins up."
Least up to speed on the likely value of a baguette with their morning café au lait were the Scots, who thought that one pound would buy them 13.37 euros. The average Brummie thought that there were 11.89 euros to the pound, while the Welsh believed they'd get 9.05 euros.
The East Anglians were the most likely to keep their cool when handed the bill for a pizza from an Italian waiter; however, just 19 per cent of them guessed the exchange rate at between €1.45 and €1.60.
Far more women admitted to not knowing what the exchange rate was: 59 per cent compared to 35 per cent of men had no clue. Even among 16-24 year olds, 48 per cent said they had no idea of the exchange rate.
While Tony Blair is unlikely to find his summer holiday tarred by the same miscalculations, he may have to reassess the political value of a referendum when so many of his voters are unsure of the economic value of the single currency.
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