LondonNet News Headlines
15/05/00
Ken: Euro is Vital for London
- Mayor makes business case for joining new currency

LONDON Mayor Ken Livingstone demanded that Britain adopt the euro or face seeing the capital lose its pre-eminence as a financial centre.

"Membership of the euro is not irrelevant to, but is vital for, the medium and long-term interests of London," Livingstone said in a speech to business leaders at Mansion House last night.

Livingstone's case is that outside the euro the UK will continue to be saddled with painfully high interest rates and overvalued sterling, both of which threaten the country's economic future.

How much being outside the euro would affect the City is less clear however as, when the London stock exchange merges with Frankfurt's bourse, deals are likely to be quoted in euros in any case, forcing much of the City to follow suit.

Instead, Livingstone's intervention should probably be read as another attack on the ultra-orthodox policies of Britain's finance minister Gordon Brown. Brown is looking increasingly isolated in the cabinet in his apparent fear of joining the euro, but as yet enjoys the support of Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Blair's position could change if, as many pundits expect, the economy takes a downturn. At such a point Livingstone would then be able to portray himself as the man who had the answers all along.




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