Use Scottish banknotes in UK?

MP puts bill forward to ensure Scottish banknotes are accepted

Herald Scotland

Explained: Why Scottish banknotes can be rejected

It is a long-running complaint from many who travel south of the Border from Scotland when an attempt to use a Scottish banknote is met by the refusal to accept the currency.

However, shops can refuse a Scottish banknote or any banknote for that matter. A business can choose what payment they accept. They are at liberty to refuse a £50 note or any note, it's a matter of discretion.

READ MORE: Judy Murray's Scottish banknotes refused in London bakers

What is classed as legal tender?

Just to keep things complicated, what's classed as legal tender varies across the UK.

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Should Scottish banknotes be used across the rest of the UK?

By Daniel J. McLaughlin

"It's legal tender, pal" is a cry heard across the UK when a Scottish banknote is attempted to be used in a shop.

A Scottish MP wants to enhance the status of the Scottish note, preventing the money from being turned away.

However, it is technically not legal tender - and can still be refused by businesses.

The Claim

A Scottish MP has put forward a bill that would ensure Scottish banknotes are accepted throughout the rest of the UK.

Alistair Carmichael presented his Legal Tender (Scottish Banknotes) Bill to parliament on Thursday, the Daily Record reports.

The Scottish Liberal Democrat deputy leader said: "Every Scot who travels south has a story about their money being turned down or looked at sceptically.

"There is no reason to make a distinction between Scottish and other banknotes as acceptable payment. It's beyond time we give legal force to the well-known phrase ‘that’s legal tender pal’.

"I hope that this Bill will encourage businesses across the UK to recognise and accept Scottish currency."

The Counterclaim

However, The Herald explains why Scottish banknotes can be rejected in the rest of the UK.

Shops can refuse a Scottish banknote - or indeed, any banknote for that matter. They report: "A business can choose what payment they accept. They are at liberty to refuse a £50 note or any note, it’s a matter of discretion."

The classification of legal tender varies across the UK. In England and Wales, Royal Mint coins and Bank of England notes are legal tender, while in Scotland and Northern Ireland, only the coins are. Debit and credit cards also not classed as legal tender.

The Herald adds: "If a banknote is refused, there is very little you can do as payment is essentially a matter for agreement between the parties involved."

The Facts

The Bank of England further explains: "A shop owner can choose what payment they accept. If you want to pay for a pack of gum with a £50 note, it’s perfectly legal to turn you down.

"Likewise for all other banknotes, it’s a matter of discretion. If your local corner shop decided to only accept payments in Pokémon cards that would be within their right too. But they’d probably lose customers.

"Legal tender has a narrow technical meaning which has no use in everyday life. It means that if you offer to fully pay off a debt to someone in legal tender, they can’t sue you for failing to repay."

They also add that there are restrictions when it comes to coins, which are manufactured and issued by the Royal Mint. For example, 1p and 2p coins only count as legal tender for any amount up to 20p.

Only the Bank of England issues banknotes in England and Wales, while there are seven banks in Scotland and Northern Ireland that can also issue notes.

The Bank of England regulates these other notes, checking if the seven Scottish and Northern Ireland banks are complying with the asset-backing rules.

According to the BBC, the reason why Scotland has its own money is partly political. It came from a movement in 1826 called the Malachi Malagrowther campaign - a handle used by writer Sir Walter Scott. After the success of the campaign, Sir Walter features on all notes issued by the Bank of Scotland.

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