Portillo stepped up the Tories’ campaign to save the pound in an attempt to regain the initiative for the forthcoming general election.
Using the firm’s report as ammunition, Portillo said the total cost of joining the new currency would total Pounds 36 billion – the equivalent of 36 Millennium Domes.
Furthermore, the report estimated the cost to the public sector alone would be in excess of Pounds 3bn and warned local authorities and NHS bodies would have to appoint ‘euro co-ordinators’.
Portillo claimed all companies would have to change accounting and computing systems whether or not they traded with countries inside the eurozone.
Prices would be hit and customers would have to pay more for their goods for the privilege of paying for them in euros, the shadow chancellor said.
Portillo said Labour had given no indication of costs, and challenged the government to dispute the Conservatives’ figures.
He also cited a survey of large companies by KPMG suggesting that, if Britain were to join the euro, the cost of altering computer systems would be five times the cost of coping with the Millennium Bug.