§ Mr. Mitchell
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer of 27 November 1997,Official Report, column 658, on facilitating the use of the Euro, if he will introduce measures to require banks to remove exchange costs between Euro and Sterling. 
§ Mrs. Liddell
When the euro is introduced in a number of the other EU member states in January 1999 it will be a foreign currency in the UK and will fluctuate in value against sterling. The Government have no plans to require banks to bear the exchange costs that will remain between the euro and sterling in such circumstances. However, the Government will develop with the banking sector a "seal of approval" so that firms and individuals can recognise those banks which offer reliable information and which allow customers to bank in euro at low cost.
§ Mr. Mitchell
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if the loan from the European Investment Bank to Railtrack for infrastructure improvement will count in the investment taken into account when calculating the percentage of gross national product deficits relating to Economic and Monetary Union convergence requirements; on what criteria this decision is based; and what rate of interest the Exchequer requires for comparable public investment. 
§ Mr. Darling
A loan made by the European Investment Bank to Railtrack would not affect General Government Financial Deficit (GGFD), Gross National Product (GNP) or Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The calculation of GGFD and GDP when providing data for the assessment or progress against the convergence criteria for Economic and Monetary Union is made in accordance with the European System of Accounts.
For comparable public investment, a return on assets of 8 per cent. in real terms is normally expected on commercial activities by public sector trading bodies.