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Disadvantages of UK Joining the Euro

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1. Loss of Independent Monetary Policy. On joining the EURO interest rates would no longer be set by the MPC. They would be set by the European Central Bank. The ECB look at the whole EURO economy and not what is best for the UK. Thus if the UK joined now interest rates would fall from 5.25% to the ECB rate of 2.25%. This fall in interest rates could cause and further boost the buoyant Housing Market and cause future inflationary pressures.

2. Difficulty in getting out of a recession. On the other hand if the UK suffered a recession they would be unable to cut interest rates. It would be difficult to boost demand and get out of the recession. To an extent this occurred in 1992; the UK was in a recession but because they were in the ERM (2) they were trying to maintain a high value of the £. Thus interest rates were far too high (15%) these high interest rates exacerbated the UK’s recession.

3. Sensitivity to interest Rates. The nature of the UK housing market means the UK economy is sensitive to changes in interest rates. Unlike European countries most UK householders own their own house, their variable mortgage is a high % of their income. Thus even a 0.25% change in interest rate can significantly affect disposable income. If the UK were to join now and interest rates were to fall by 2% it would very likely cause a further boom in the housing market which would feed through into higher inflation.

4. Loss of independence of Fiscal Policy. The growth and stability pact limits the levels of government borrowing to 3% of GDP. This is another difficulty in getting the economy out of a recession. However it would not affect the UK at the moment. Also France and Germany have conveniently been able to sidestep this rule when necessity demanded.

The UK economy is doing relatively well, by historical standards the UK economic performance is quite remarkable. Thus there seems little incentive for a British politician to take on the entrenched Euro scepticism prevalent in British media and society. There is little to be gained by joining and there are many potential problems, the Queen’s head is safe for the foreseeable future.


About the Author

Richard Pettinger studied Politics and Economics at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University. He now works as an economics teacher in Oxford. He enjoys writing essays on Economic and he edits an Economics Blog focused on UK and US economies: http://www.economicshelp.org/econ.html


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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2007-03-17 00:22:18 in Economic Articles

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