THE vast majority of firms in the North-west have yet to start making preparations for the introduction of the single European currency on January 1 next year.

This is according to a survey by the North West Chambers of Commerce.

The research, sponsored and analysed by the Royal Bank of Scotland, shows that more than three quarters of service companies have made no preparations at all and nearly two thirds of manufacturing companies are in the same position.

Mr Terry Cook, director of the North West Chambers of Commerce, said: "While it is understandable that the strength of sterling may be of primary concern to exporters at the moment, it is extremely disappointing that so many businesses of all sizes have failed to make any preparation for such a significant change.

"Firms must act now to ensure they are ready and not run the risk of losing existing business or miss out on the opportunity of winning new business, particularly as the strength of sterling recedes."

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