Beyond Yes and No

A multi-currency alternative to EMU

The debate about abolishing the pound, adopting the euro and joining European Monetary Union has been frustrating.

There seems to be few changes of mind, as the rival camps lob insults at each other from either side of an unbreachable divide.

It is also largely a debate’ that goes on in entirely political terms: the Prime Minister has hinted one thing, the Chancellor another. The question whether the euro might be good for some and less good for others, rarely arises. And it assumes that somehow Britain is indivisible, that what is good for the big corporations is necessarily good for everyone.

This impoverished debate, we can only assume, is a small version of the larger one we can expect if and when the Prime Minister calls a referendum on entry into the euro zone. There is little or no prospect that the specific affects on the communities and neighbourhoods of the UK will come under discussion, or what can be done about it.

Yet even the Governor of the Bank of England, Eddie George, pointed out that sterling, with its single interest rate, was too big a currency to work well for all UK regions.

his report puts forward an alternative way forward, based on a range of different currencies in the UK at every level of economic life – from the regions to neighbourhoods. Not instead of the pound or the euro, but to underpin those aspects of life we may lose if we adopt a currency that is too big. It is a contribution to a debate that has so far failed to take place.

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