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Tuesday, 7 May, 2002, 06:34 GMT 07:34 UK
Bank 'would not oppose euro'
Pile of euros
A referendum is likely on the UK's euro entry
The governor of the Bank of England, Sir Edward George, has said he would not oppose the UK joining the European single currency if the public voted in favour of adopting the euro, according to a press report.

Britain's entry into the eurozone is set to be put to a referendum once Chancellor Gordon Brown's five economic tests for the switch have been met.

Sir Edward, in an interview with the Financial Times newspaper, said the Bank would support the public's decision and would "see its responsibility as making a success of whatever was decided".

The Bank of England's governor has previously expressed scepticism about the benefits of UK entry into the euro, arguing a single economic policy across Europe was a "disadvantage".

Stepping down

In December, Sir Edward suggested that if the government were to hold a referendum on the euro now, the British people would probably reject entry.

Sir Edward is due to step down from his post at the end of June 2003, and doubt remains as to whether Gordon Brown will have decided by then whether his five economic tests for Britain to adopt the euro have been passed.

Sir Edward's interview with the FT marked the fifth anniversary on Monday of the decision by Brown to hand control of interest rates to the Bank.

The move has largely been seen as a success, with short-term interest rates at a 38-year low of 4% percent, unemployment is at its lowest for decades, and the economy last year outgrew the rest of the Group of Seven leading economies.

Sir Edward said Britain's low unemployment was particularly pleasing, adding: "I think that's what it's all about."


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21 Dec 01 | Business
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