A SURVEY showing that Britain's biggest businesses are reluctant to bang the drum for British entry into the European single currency, was welcomed by opposition leaders last night.

The poll of 109 chief executives of leading companies found a seven-to-one majority in favour of the CBI's recent decision to stop promoting the benefits of the single currency.

The businessmen also agreed by a margin of two to one that the CBI should resist Government pressure to speak out more positively about the euro.

Shadow chief secretary to the Treasury Oliver Letwin said: ''The survey shows that the priorities of business are not the priorities of this Government.

''What businesses want is a reduction in the £5bn a year in extra taxes and the £5bn of extra red tape which this Government has imposed on them.

''Instead of focusing on the priorities of business, Labour are too busy fighting over how truthful to be about their plans to scrap the pound as soon as they think they can get away with it.''

The poll in the Financial Times comes amid reports of Cabinet infighting over the issue.

Chancellor Gordon Brown is thought to believe that active campaigning for euro entry should be delayed at least until after the election, while colleagues such as Peter Mandelson and Robin Cook are reported to think the political case should be made now.

Some 87.5 per cent of chief executives responding to the FT survey agreed that CBI director general Digby Jones was right to reduce the organisation's work on the euro, and focus instead on transport, regional policy and the new economy, compared to just 12.5 per cent who thought he was wrong.