The UK Confederation of British Industry yesterday took the initiative from Secretary of State Lord Youngs’ Department of Trade & Industry over preparations for the single European market by launching a project aimed at ensuring that British firms will not miss the party in 1992. Alan Lewis, chairman of the Confederation made it clear that up to half the businesses currently operating in the European Community may disappear in the wake of the lifting of trade barriers, but it would open up a market of 320m consumers to British industry. The initiative has been designed as a complete resource package providing information on the key business issues in planning for the Single Market. It is being funded by the private sector to the tune of UKP5m plus, and is aimed at medium size to large companies with over 50 employees. For UKP1,500, companies will be able to use the facility, which consists of detailed briefings for senior executives at specially designed seminars, comprehensive detailed reference material, and Eurolink Phoneline a phone-in information and enquiry service. Lord Young emphasised the importance of the initiative to British industry faced with the challenge and competition from the Single Market by suggesting that while nine out of 10 businesses recognised the importance of 1992 only one third had begun to prepare for it. It is expected in addition that more than 5m new jobs will be created in the aftermath of deregulation. John Foden, chief executive of the PA Consulting Group said that while British technology is leading the field in many areas of communications, financial services, office automation and retail point of sale, as much as 50% of its work with regard to 1992 is currently being conducted with US and Japanese companies who see a threat to their business from the Sfngle Market and want to counter it. David Thompson meanwhile, speaking for Rank Xerox Ltd, outlined how proposals for 1992 had enabled his firm to construct for the first time a comprehensive public procurement policy which, with the exception of telecommunications, deemed generally to be off-limits, would allow an effective approach to the opportunities the market presents.