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Thursday, 27 December, 2001, 09:41 GMT
British shops urged to accept euro
Euro notes
Twelve countries will start using the Euro on 1 January
British shops and businesses are being urged to accept the European single currency notes and coins when they are introduced on 1 January.

Europe Minister Peter Hain says he wants UK retailers to gain from the currency change in Europe.


Whether we are in or out of it, it affects us

Europe Minister Peter Hain
In an interview with The Independent, Mr Hain said it was striking that shops and retail outlets were rushing to use the euro.

"It is a process of Britain coming to terms with the fact that the euro is here to stay," he said.

"I want our shops and retail outlets to gain from the euro - as they have clearly decided they want to in order to remain competitive - rather than to lose out.

Twelve start

Mr Hain said he wanted the 13 million continental Europeans who visit the UK each year to bring their money rather than give their 5% commission to the money changers.

"I would rather that money went into shops and businesses in Britain than to a bureau de change in Paris or Berlin," he said.

Twelve EU countries, not including Britain, are due to start using the euro on 1 January.

Mr Hain's comments about the new currency are likely to anger British eurosceptics who suspect the government is planning to cajole the electorate into backing Britain's membership of the single European currency.

See also:

27 Dec 01 | Business
Euro fuels price rise fears
19 Dec 01 | UK Politics
The UK's euro battle
30 Aug 01 | Europe
The politics of the euro
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