Sir, - How encouraging it is to hear that British exports rose by 12pc last year to a record £187bn - underlining the stability we have achieved by staying outside the Eurozone.

Despite the weakness of the euro during 2000, British businesses have performed well and our trade gap with the rest of the EU has fallen to its lowest level for almost 20 years. Britain has continued to attract more inward investment than France and Germany combined and take-home pay in Britain is now among the highest in the EU - second only to Luxembourg.

This good news blows apart the scare stories put about by supporters of the euro. Exports and investment in Britain have risen because Britain is the best place in the EU to do business. Manufacturing productivity is improving and we have gained competitive advantages by keeping control of our economy.

The success of British businesses has also led to lower unemployment. Recent figures from the International Labour Organisation revealed that unemployment in the North-East has fallen to eight per cent - the lowest level for 25 years. Unemployment in Britain is almost half the Eurozone average but in Germany, the number of jobless has been rising for the last two months.

By replacing the pound with the euro we risk undermining Britain's current success by returning to boom and bust. Locked into the euro, we would be exposed to the economic problems of the Eurozone, including their bankrupt state pensions systems, and we would be forced to accept the one-size-fits-all interest rate set by the European central bank.

Pro-euro politicians risk repeating the mistakes of our last currency experiment, the ERM, which led to the collapse of 100,000 businesses and caused unemployment to double.

However, before this can be done, people will have their say in a referendum and opinion polls consistently show that over two thirds of the public and businesses are opposed to replacing the pound. They understand the benefits of keeping control of our economy.



Business for Sterling North-East.

Shocking TV soap

Sir, - What a shocking TV programme Emmerdale is, and I use the word "shocking" deliberately as the programme is broadcast at 7pm, a peak time I would imagine for youngsters to be watching.

In recent years the programme has publicised under-age drinking, under-age sex and under-age youngsters taking a drive in a delapidated car which was neither taxed nor insured during which it was crashed through a hedge injuring or killing a cow. The accident was not reported of course. There has been stealing as a way of life (Zak and Cain Dingle), promotion of adultery, shoplifting by youngsters, excessive drinking, villagers apparently spending a lot of the day in the pub - in fact, it would appear that nothing in the village is discussed or decided without alcohol in hand or on the table.

Homosexuals and lesbians have had their share of promotion, there is a councillor who will stop at nothing to get his own way and make money, and fornication is rife. About the only crime not so far exploited is child abuse; but perhaps that is being saved for when viewing numbers drop?

Readers may wonder why, if I think there is so much wrong with the programme, I know so much about it, I will just say that there is a reason, and leave it at that.


Long Street,


Dubious need

Sir, - A recent copy of our local free paper pictured two young Asian women with a cheque from the National Lottery for £4,800. This was paid to enrich the lives of their mothers and aunts by taking them to the Blackpool illuminations and on other jaunts.

Are the people in question really in need of charitable help and for such a trivial project? I am sure everyone can think of far more deserving causes and let us hope farmers suffering disaster and ruin in this country receive financial help from the lottery.

However, they are at a distinct disadvantage in not belonging to an ethnic minority.


Coxwold Road,


Korean vets

Sir, - The British Korean Veterans' Association is trying to contact those former members of HM Armed Forces who served in Korea/Japan during the Korean War of 1950-1953, and also, those members of the peace-keeping force that served in these two places at a later date, including the Merchant Navy, NAAFI and Red Cross. We would be most grateful if enquirers would enclose a SAE so we can reply.


British Korean Veterans'


102 College Croft, Eccles,