THERE ARE NO surprises as to what leads the business pages today; adopting the euro would be the bi...
THERE ARE NO surprises as to what leads the business pages today; adopting the euro would be the biggest business decision the UK has ever made – baring joining the EEC in the 1970s and ditching the gold standard before that.
The FT says that the statement due from chancellor Gordon Brown is set to be "upbeat" about the UK's prospects of joining. He is expected to say that business will get a boost when the country does eventually join the currency union.
The FT also carries a warning in the form of a piece written by former Cabinet member Peter Mandelson, saying that to remain outside the euro will diminish the UK's ability to influence EU decision-making, and will be detrimental to the country's long-term interests.
The Daily Telegraph also carries Mandelson's warning, but contradicts his warning with evidence from Italian white goods maker Merloni Elettrodomestici that the UK remaining outside the eurozone is no danger to the UK economy.
The Italian company is to announce a £15m investment in its Bristol-based tumble dryer factory, following on from a recently completed £20m investment in a fridge making plant in Peterborough.
The point is, The Telegraph says, that direct foreign investment into the UK continues to outpace the rest of the EU by some margin, and the currency debate does not seem to worry those putting their money into the country.
Rebuilding trust is the theme of The Times' piece on the Euro decision: the paper says that after the collapse of public faith in the government because of revelations it massaged intelligence ahead of the vote by Parliament to go to war against Iraq, it needs to use today's speech by the chancellor to set out a new relationship with the electorate.
Taking more time to decide whether to join will enable the government to present the case that it is being thorough with the decision, and this should help rebuild trust after the WMD fiasco, The Times says.
The Scotsman joins the debate by pointing out that a new poll north of the border shows that a majority of the Scots do not want to adopt the euro.
That is significant, the paper says, because most polls on the issue have traditionally found stronger support in Scotland than other places in the UK for adopting the currency.
The rate of support for the euro has slipped to 38% from 46% just four months ago, the paper says.
ROYAL & SUN ALLIANCE has beefed up its coffers by another £72m in cash after selling its US business Royal Specialty Underwriting Inc., the FT reports.
The money will come in handy as the firm looks to re-joining the FTSE 100 when the quarterly review is carried out on Wednesday this week – its shares are up 130% in recent months, the paper adds.
Sales of other assets, especially the massive float of its Australian and New Zealand business have helped R&SA regain the financial strength and market capitalisation to put it back among the biggest UK stocks.
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