Pressure Grows on Blair to Name Date for Vote on Euro
Hennessy, Patrick, The Evening Standard (London, England)
Byline: PATRICK HENNESSY
TONY BLAIR was facing pressure from both pro and anti-euro campaigners today to stage a quick referendum on whether Britain should ditch the pound for the new currency.
The Prime Minister was accused of putting jobs at risk by failing to launch a debate on the issue and doing nothing to end the uncertainty gripping businesses.
Mr Blair has so far only inched forward on the euro - claiming he wants the country to be part of a successful currency but only if five key economic tests are met.
Chancellor Gordon Brown has until June next year to complete an assessment of the economic tests, although there are clear signs he will not allow himself to be boxed in and will announce his findings earlier.
Today Sir Ken Jackson, the pro-euro leader of the Amicus engineering union, claimed uncertainty was crippling British industry. He told Radio 4's Today programme: "The argument has not been put yet, this is the problem. The argument is, go in by default, and of course the uncertainty is crippling British industry, especially manufacturing.
"With the uncertainty that is around people are not making longterm plans.
Investment is falling in Britain - France has overtaken us now as the leading investment area for Europe and, of course, we are suffering from that. What we believe is that the debate needs to be opened up, that we need to get this out of the way," he said. …