HC Deb 16 December 1999 vol 341 cc395-6
15. Mr. Ben Chapman (Wirral, South)

If he will make a statement on progress on implementation of the national changeover plan. [101779]

The Economic Secretary to the Treasury (Miss Melanie Johnson)

Progress on the national changeover planning project was reported in the Treasury's third report on euro preparations on 1 November. Copies of the report are available in the Library.

Mr. Chapman

Is not the implementation of the national changeover plan the only sensible way to proceed? What individual or organisation—in the private or public sector—would proceed with the prospect of a decision when the conditions are satisfied without making adequate preparations? Does my hon. Friend not agree that the position of the Conservative party is entirely incomprehensible in that respect? Will she also tell me when the second implementation plan might be published?

Miss Johnson

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for making exactly the right points on this matter. We need to take a lead in making preparations so that we are able to decide one way or another. We have consulted more than 100 organisations. The public sector has taken a lead in the preparations and, this month, the Bank of England issued a document on its work in this regard. We also now have the opportunity in our preparations to consider the experience of first-wave countries.