Press Releases

HISTORIC PRESS RELEASE : Second six monthly report on Euro preparations [February 1999]

The press release issued by HM Treasury on 23 February 1999.

The second six monthly report on the work of the Treasury Euro Preparations Unit (EPU), Getting ready for the euro : second report February 1999 is published today.

Welcoming the report, Lord Simon, the Minister for Trade and Competitiveness in Europe, said:

“This report reflects the substantial programme of work undertaken by the EPU and the many business representatives and public sector bodies with which it has liaised closely
in recent months.

“It shows that considerable progress has been made. The second EPU survey of SMEs shows  a doubling of awareness levels, and a trebling of action levels, in the run up to 1 January 1999,  following the Government’s business information campaign.

“But much more remains to be done to ensure that SMEs –  almost half of whom have direct or indirect trading links with the eurozone –  are prepared to maintain and improve their competitiveness in the new euro environment.

“This work has done a great deal to inform the outline national changeover plan, also published today, which sets out the practical steps which would be needed for the UK to join the euro.”

Getting ready for the euro : second report January 1999 offers a benchmark of progress on preparations in the UK and sets out further preparation activity planned over the next six months. It  focusses on preparations in individual sectors of the economy, including financial markets; retail financial services; retailers; travel and tourism; multinationals and subsidiaries; small businesses; business services; and public authorities.

The report includes case studies illustrating practical responses to the need to prepare for the euro in these sectors,  and contact points for further information. It also includes information about the successful EPU advertising campaign and direct mail contact with 1.6 million SMEs. The latter provided new information on regional levels of business awareness of the euro, and expanded data on estimated levels of use of the euro in the UK.

The report looks further ahead at preparations for the option of the UK joining the single currency.  There are some examples of organisations which are already taking steps to prepare for possible UK entry into the single currency. Future editions of Getting ready for the euro will focus increasingly on these preparations and report on progress on the areas of further work set out in the National Changeover Plan.