Mark Carney praises Alan Turing's achievements
The Bank of England governor explains why the computer pioneer was chosen for the new £50 note.

MP seeks to change face of new £50

Sue Nicholson

BBC News

Bank notes

The MP for Maidstone is calling on the Bank of England to improve the diversity of the people it chooses to feature on bank notes.

Helen Grant introduced the Banknotes (Diversity) Bill to the House of Commons, which accepted and now moves to Second Reading Stage.

She is backing a campaign to persuade the bank to choose a black, Asian or ethnic minority person as the face for the new £50 note.

Ms Grant said: "I believe the £50 note represents a perfect opportunity for the Bank to fulfill its equality obligations and ensure our nation’s bank notes are reflective of the diverse and inclusive nature of modern Britain."

Examples of those deserving recognition include:

  • Mary Seacole - the Jamaican British nurse who supported British troops during the Crimean war and whose contribution has been recognised as equal to that of Florence Nightingale
  • Noor Inayat Khan - a Muslim of Indian origin who was the first female radio operator to infiltrate enemy occupied France in World War II
  • Sir Charles Kao – a British-Chinese scientist who pioneered the use of fibre optics in telecommunications and won the Nobel Prize for physics.

Why Sweden has moved away from cash

Kevin Peachey

Personal finance reporter

Cashless society sign
Getty Images

More from the Treasury Committee, where financial and consumer experts are telling MPs about the future of cash.

Natalie Ceeney, who led the review into the access to cash in the UK, points out that Sweden has moved far closer to a cashless society. About 15% of transactions in Sweden are in cash, compared with just over 30% in the UK, and more than 80% in Germany and much of Europe.

Why? Ms Ceeney said when she visited Sweden she was told that residents loved technology. Transferring money is as easy as sending a text message.

They also had far more faith in their banks and government than others "because they haven't been invaded in 200 years," Ms Ceeney said.

If cash disappears, who is affected?

Kevin Peachey

Personal finance reporter

Getty Images

Someone with an annual income of less than £10,000 is 14 times more likely to rely on cash than an individual earning £30,000 a year, figures show.

As income levels fall, so the reliance on notes and coins increases, according to Sian Williams, who is giving evidence to MPs about cash use in the UK.

The Treasury Committee is hearing from panel members on the Access to Cash Review, which last week warned that the system underpinning the use of cash in the UK is at risk of falling apart.

Richard Lloyd, one of the panel, said: "There is no government policy on the future of cash."

Natalie Ceeney, who authored the review, said that regulators could take action, and that creating a new one to deal with this issue would be a "distraction".

Last chance for £50 note nominations

Kevin Peachey

Personal finance reporter

Bank of England advert
Bank of England

Just a few hours remain for the public to nominate a worthy scientist to feature on the next version of the £50 note.

The Bank of England has set a deadline of midnight tonight for names to be suggested. The rules state the nominated person must be real, deceased, and have contributed to the field of science in the UK.

Hundreds of names have already been put forward, including computing pioneers Alan Turing and Ada Lovelace, telephone inventor Alexander Graham Bell, and black holes expert Stephen Hawking.

The long-list will be finalised by the Bank of England in the coming days, from which an expert panel will select a shortlist. The final decision will be made by the Bank's governor, Mark Carney, next year.