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The European Single Currency: Attitudes Towards UK Participation in the Eurozone

International Journal of Applied Finance For Non-Financial Managers (ISSN: 1742-528X) Volume 1 Issue 3

Graham Webster and Kerry E. Howell

Abstract

This paper discusses research proposals aimed at building a clearer understanding of the UK population's attitude towards Britain 's possible future adoption of the Euro.

In the run-up to the June-2001 general election, the debate about the UK 's future participation in the Eurozone focussed on issues relating to the loss of national sovereignty and political identity. The Labour Party's neutral, “wait and see” stance on the adoption of the Euro contrasted sharply with the Conservative Party's strong, anti-Euro policy. Many of the Conservative Party's arguments were echoed by both academics and by organs of the media claiming to represent UK popular opinion.

The business community's attitude towards possible future UK Eurozone membership is frequently explored and expressed by such institutions as the Confederation of British Industry. However, the June-2001 general election was seen by many as the first real opportunity to measure the attitude towards the Euro of the UK population as a whole.

The Conservative Party's heavy defeat in the 1997 general election suggests that the population may be much less antipathetic towards the Euro than both many academics and as previously implied by the media. Nevertheless, it could be several years (and more than one parliamentary cycle ahead) before the Government decides that its five conditions for UK membership of the Euro have been met and then implements its promise to test the population's opinion about UK adoption of the Euro by referendum. This paper outlines research proposals designed to elicit a clearer understanding, ahead of any such referendum, of the population's attitude towards future UK Eurozone participation.

The paper acknowledges the limited value of secondary research, and the researcher's associated subjective attempts to measure the relative importance of economic arguments for and against Euro adoption. Far more useful is primary data about the population's perception of crucial issues in the Euro debate. The paper explains the planned primary research investigation, and discusses the extent to which the research outcomes may be a useful predictive tool for the outcome of a future Euro referendum.

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