Insurance companies in the South West have called on the Government not to leave them "in the dark and out of pocket" over European monetary union after a forum in Bristol by European IT services group CMG.

Companies including Cornhill, Legal & General and Zurich IFA discussed how the Government's indecision over adopting the single currency could put them at a major disadvantage when it comes to competing with their European counterparts.

CMG's EMU and risk advisory centre director Tom Bamber, who chaired the forum, said: "It is estimated that the euro issue is five times the size and complexity of Year 2000 compliance projects.

"But obviously companies are not going to spend huge sums on updating their IT if there is not a clear commitment and timetable for a changeover to the euro."