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Tuesday, 27 August, 2002, 16:27 GMT 17:27 UK
Travellers 'not taking to euro'
Spanish beach
Has the "holiday effect" failed to materialise?
Returning British holidaymakers will be spoilt for choice when it comes to spending their spare euros, campaigners have claimed.


Anti-Europeans may want to keep Britain out of the euro, but they can't keep the euro out of Britain

Simon Buckby, Britain in Europe
A record number of British retailers are now accepting the currency, according to a survey by Britain in Europe.

The claim comes as polls suggest a predicted swing in public opinion towards the currency over the summer months has failed to materialise.

Pro-euro campaigners had hoped Brits would return home with new enthusiasm for the currency, after using it for the first time.

Latest polls suggest the opposite may have happened, with support for the euro apparently falling during August.

'Leftover euros'

Simon Buckby, director of the pro-euro Britain in Europe group, said: "This summer, millions of British people have used the euro for the first time.


If we can use the euro without having to give up the pound it is a good thing

George Eustice, No Campaign
"They can now spend their leftover euros in more British outlets than ever before.

"Anti-Europeans may want to keep Britain out of the euro, but they can't keep the euro out of Britain."

Britain in Europe claims 50 of Britain's retailers - including top names such as Marks and Spencer, Dixons, Virgin and Argos - now accept the currency.

Sixteen British tourist attractions including the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey and Edinburgh Castle, also now accepted the currency, it said.

'Best of both worlds'

George Eustice, director of the anti-euro No Campaign, said the fact that more UK outlets were accepting the euro was not an argument for adopting the currency.

"Retailers have accepted other currencies, such as the US dollar and the euro, for some time.

"It is not the same as joining the euro.

"If we can use the euro without having to give up the pound it is a good thing.

"We can have the best of both worlds."

Familiarity breeding contempt?

A monthly poll by Barclays Capital suggested the "holiday effect", long hoped-for by the pro-euro camp had failed to materialise.

The poll found 49% of people would still vote against joining the euro, with 36% in favour, the joint worst result since the poll started.

A Barclays Capital spokesman said: "Familiarity with euro notes and coins has not had a positive impact on sentiment towards the single currency.

"Indeed, the reverse appears to be true."

Price rise fears

The No Campaign claims this reinforces the suggestion in two polls last month - by MORI and GFK - that there may be a "reverse holiday effect".

Campaigners claim the experience of price rises in the eurozone may be turning people against the euro.

In a survey of 1,000 British people by internet bank Cahoot this week, 77% of respondents thought Europe had become more expensive since the single currency's introduction.

Such fears appear to have been born out by a price survey published last week by the French consumers' association UFC, which suggested the average weekly shopping bill for a family in France has risen by 10% since the euro was introduced.

Greater competition

However, Britain in Europe claims UK consumers will benefit in the long term from entry into the single currency.

Many products, such as cars, CDs and DVDs, are considerably cheaper in the eurozone, it argues.

Being inside a single currency area will ultimately make it easier to compare prices across borders, driving down prices and increasing competition.

Campaigners point to a study by German bank Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein earlier this year, which suggested prices in London were 16% above the eurozone average.

A tour of the UK by Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, which started on Tuesday, was being interpreted by some commentators as a campaign to soften up the public for a referendum on the single currency.

Mr Straw wants to boost support for the European Union among sceptical voters but he was refusing to answer questions on the euro.


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22 Aug 02 | Politics
14 Aug 02 | Politics
02 Jul 02 | Politics
08 May 02 | Politics
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