Page last updated at 10:49 GMT, Wednesday, 21 January 2009

'Legal' bid over Scots banknotes

Twenty pound note
Three Scottish banks print their own notes

An attempt is to be made at Westminster to make it legally binding for shops and businesses in England to accept Scottish banknotes.

At the moment traders south of the border can refuse to take such notes.

A private member's bill is being launched in the Commons by Shadow Scottish Secretary David Mundell.

It would require all providers of goods or services in the UK which accept Bank of England notes to take Scottish banknotes on an equal basis.

In Scotland, three banks retain the right to print their own money - the Royal Bank of Scotland, the Bank of Scotland and the Clydesdale Bank.

These banknotes are not backed by the force of law anywhere in the UK.


What I am saying is if a business accepts a Bank of England note, it would be under an obligation to accept the equivalent Scottish note - provided there was no suggestion that it was not genuine

David Mundell MP


People who use Scottish notes in England have no legal recourse if they are refused.

The only notes that carry the force of law are those issued by the Bank of England.

Mr Mundell's proposal came courtesy of an appeal to voters in his Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale constituency.

He asked them to come up with suggestions of new laws they would like to see introduced.

One of the ideas put forward was to make it illegal for people in other UK countries to refuse Scottish banknotes.

Mr Mundell told BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme he had consciously avoided the complex issue of legal tender.

He said: "What I am saying is, if a business accepts a Bank of England note, it would be under an obligation to accept the equivalent Scottish note - provided there was no suggestion that it was not genuine".

The politician added it was not yet known whether the Treasury was sympathetic to his bill, but he had support from MPs, including Scots MPs.

He said he had noticed lots of people coming into his own constituency from England who were worried about Scots notes being accepted when they went back over the border.

"That just shouldn't be the case because these notes are equally valid and have the same worth," he said.

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