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Answer to question 9 Continued.
These statements have aroused great controversy. Both the Prime Minister and the Chancellor have made speeches saying that the government is basically in favour of joining but stressing that a long string of economic conditions (the Treasury has listed five tests and has recently added more) must be satisfied. They have exhorted private firms to 'prepare' and have suggested that the public sector would do so, even before the decision is taken and agreed by referendum. However, to spend money and time in serious amounts when the decision may well be made in the end not to join the Euro would be wasteful for both the taxpayer and private shareholders.

Our view is that the case against going in is very strong, both economically and politically, and that therefore it is most unlikely that the people will endorse going in, so that the government may well shy away from even deciding to go ahead and so avoid a referendum. The Treasury's tests echo many of the concerns we raise in these pages. In a speech in 1999, [click here to read the speech in Hansard, use your browser's 'back' button to return] the Prime Minister listed many more detailed issues-such as whether the Euro area would be flexible enough for us to take part. We share these concerns too. In short, there is an impression that the government is trying to have it all ways: look 'pro-Euro' for the benefit of continental politicians and its own pro-Europeans, but appear suitably sceptical for the benefit of domestic public opinion. In the end such ambiguity will have to be resolved by a proper debate in Britain about the merits of the case. We show in these pages that the case is strongly against, hence the National Changeover Plan seems to be of doubtful relevance at this point
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© Patrick Minford 1999