HC Deb 05 February 1998 vol 305 c777W
Mr. Gray

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the effect of the sale of excess reserves of(a) gold and (b) foreign currency by central banks participating in the euro on (i) world gold prices and (ii) international exchanges. [27528]

Mrs. Liddell

Developments in the world gold market are kept under continuous review as part of the normal process of managing the official reserves.

Mr. Willetts

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer for what period he expects the United Kingdom would be required to keep the pound in a fixed relationship with the euro before the United Kingdom were to join the Economic and Monetary Union. [27815]

Mrs. Liddell

The interpretation of the criteria set out in Article 109j of the Maastricht Treaty is a matter for collective discussion between EU Heads of State and Government when they meet in May to decide which Member States meet the conditions for Stage Three of EMU.

It is not the Government's intention to rejoin the ERM. The Government believe that what is important for exchange rate stability is macroeconomic stability achieved through sound fiscal and monetary policies. The Government's new framework for macroeconomic policy and programme of structural reforms will deliver the macroeconomic stability the UK economy needs before we can join EMU. The Government do not believe that ERM membership is the best way to achieve stability or convergence.