More than one in 20 cash transactions in Britain will be in euros by 2010, even if the country does not join the single currency club, an independent study has claimed.
The Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR) - quoted by Reuters - said some businesses would be accepting euro notes and coins soon after the currency's official introduction in 12 European countries in January.
The government has ruled out joining the euro until it decides the economic conditions to be right and it has the backing of the public in a referendum.
But even if Britain stays outside the currency club, holidaymakers will soon be bringing back euro notes and coins from Europe and will find they can spend them at home, the CEBR said. Some Britons will also be tempted to set up euro bank accounts and euro mortgages for home purchases -- euro zone interest rates are currently one percentage point below those in Britain.
"Within a few years, CEBR expects the euro to be accepted not just as a valid currency for payment in UK shops but to pay bills and, in some firms, to remunerate staff," it said. (September 26, 2001)