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Last Updated: Monday, 9 June, 2003, 16:43 GMT 17:43 UK
Treasury's plans for euro entry
Despite the government's decision to stay out of the euro for now, the government has published its third National Changeover Plan for possible entry in the future.

The plan envisages that the euro would be in circulation in the UK 30 months after a "yes" vote in a referendum.


Possible timetable

  • Government rules economic tests for joining euro have been met

  • Four months after that question is put to the people in a referendum

  • A "yes" vote leads to euro financial services made available electronically 20 months later

  • Euro notes and coins introduced in UK 10 months after that

  • Optimal day for joining the euro in any given year would be 6 April - dubbed E-Day

  • Pound ceases to become legal tender two months after euro notes and coins in circulation

    Background

  • The government says that the purpose of the plan is to "ensure the UK has a genuine option" to join the euro should the decision be taken to do so

  • A phased approach is key to a "smooth and cost effective" changeover in the UK

  • The Treasury would lead the changeover and a decision would be taken ahead of the referendum who would be in charge of the process

  • The timetable is intended to give "stakeholders greater planning certainty".

  • The body in charge of the that process would be the Cash Changeover Working Group (CCWG) chaired by the Bank of England

  • It is estimated that the UK will need around 10bn coins and 2bn notes would be printed

  • The government stresses the need for the changeover process to be explained with clarity

  • Information about the euro must be in a format that makes it accessible to as many people as possible

  • The government would run a central public information programme on the euro

  • The changeover of the financial services infrastructure would be managed by the Bank of England

  • At least 24 months would be needed for the retail financial services sector to build new euro payment systems

  • Government would have overall responsibility for the provision of information on the euro but share that responsibility with a wide range of bodies in both the public and private sectors

  • Government support would be available for the voluntary sector

  • The public sector had taken a lead in "responsible, early planning" to reduce the costs of changeover

    Other steps the Treasury must take:

  • Widespread consultation on the approach to a cash changeover

  • Find a way to store the new currency across the regions until they are required

  • Further work was needed to communicate changeover information to "vulnerable groups"

  • Support for the NHS in its preparations for the euro

  • Supporting the UK's devolved administrations in finalising their changeover




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