The British government is facing a growing backlash over its rescue package for the economy after the pound slumped to below parity with the euro on British high streets and at airports for the first time since the single European currency was launched a decade ago.
Sterling's decline to a value of less than a euro, after commission charges, is seen by economists and opposition politicians as evidence of declining faith in the British economy on global currency markets. It is an important psychological moment.
Britain first doubted the euro would be launched, then whether it would survive, then whether it would ever become a serious currency. Today the euro is the world's second currency after the dollar. The question is not if Britain will join, but when - and how many working lives and businesses will be wrecked by ideological opposition before it does
The Treasury last night refused to comment on the problems that sterling faces and said there was no prospect of entering the euro in the near future.
Official rates showed the pound was worth €1.11 yesterday. At its high point against the euro in May 2000, a pound was worth €1.746.
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