Wales politics

Welsh banknotes would give equal status, Plaid Cymru says

Rare banknotes
Image caption Many local banks in Wales produced notes in the 18th and 19th Centuries

Wales should have its own banknotes to give it equal status with Scotland and Northern Ireland, Plaid Cymru has said.

MP Jonathan Edwards said they could be illustrated with Welsh historical and sporting figures.

He also called for the Bank of England to be renamed the Sterling Central Bank and to be accountable to all four UK national parliaments or assemblies.

The Carmarthen East and Dinefwr MP said he would seek to amend a financial services bill being debated on Monday.

"For many years, people in Wales have been pleasantly surprised on visiting Scotland or Northern Ireland that they are perfectly able to issue and use their own sterling banknotes, only to be dismayed on returning to Wales to find that we are overlooked," he said.

"We are wedged together with England in this regard and denied an opportunity to be treated as an equal nation within the UK.

"Sterling Welsh banknotes underpinned by the central bank would put us on an equal footing with the other nations and normalise the situation."

A Welsh Conservative spokesman dismissed Plaid's suggestion, saying: "National identity and heritage are important but the Welsh economy needs more than just tokenistic gestures; it needs a new government."

Image caption Notable names - how Aneurin Bevan, Sir Gareth Edwards and Dame Shirley Bassey could be shown

Seven banks in Scotland and Northern Ireland are authorised to issue banknotes, as they were already doing so before the 1844 Bank Charter Act was passed preventing any new entrants from following suit.

A Treasury spokesperson said: "Under current legislation, no bank that does not currently have the right to issue their own commercial banknotes; whether they be in Wales, England, Scotland or Northern Ireland, are authorised to begin issuing banknotes."

Many Welsh towns and villages had their own banks producing notes in the 18th and 19th Century until closures, mergers and legislation ended the practice.

The last Welsh bank to issue notes - the North and South Wales Bank - merged with the Midland Bank (now HSBC) in 1908.

More on this story

Around the BBC

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites