§ Mr. Whittingdale
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the period which will be required for the UK economy to demonstrate sustainable convergence before entry into a single currency can take place. 
§ Ms Hewitt
[holding answer 11 January 1999]: In his statement to the House of Commons on 27 October 1997, Official Report, columns 583–606, the Chancellor of the Exchequer said that, barring some fundamental and unforeseen change in economic circumstances, there is no realistic prospect of the UK economy having demonstrated, before the end of this Parliament, convergence which is sustainable and settled rather than transitory. It is essential that Government and business prepare during this Parliament, to create a genuine option of joining a successful single currency early in the next Parliament.