Leader comment: McDonald’s should end refusal of Scottish banknotes

McDonald's staff in England claim there has been a problem with counterfeit Scottish banknotes

McDonald's staff in England claim there has been a problem with counterfeit Scottish banknotes

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The stereotypical Scot is canny, and not easily parted from their hard-earned cash. It’s true that most probably resent that “mean Jock” label, but what’s even more infuriating is having our money refused when we are trying to spend it.

The status quo has been operating pretty successfully for hundreds of years. Yes, we’ve all heard the argument that Scottish bank notes are not actually legal tender. Apparently they are legal currency – approved by the UK parliament – but not legal tender. Not even in Scotland. In fact, no banknote whatsoever, even a Bank of England one, qualifies for the term “legal tender” north of the Border. But the Bank of Scotland has been issuing its own notes since it was founded 1695, with the Royal Bank of Scotland following suit in 1727 and then the Clydesdale a century later, in 1838.

Yet we still find our notes being rejected in certain outlets. This latest ban, in ten branches of McDonald’s in Lincolnshire, has been branded “anti-Scottish”. But is it?

Staff claim they were told to refuse Scottish notes from all three issuing banks because of a problem with counterfeiting. However, are we supposed to believe that notes from all three banks have been copied?

The vast majority of establishments in the rest of the UK are happy to take our cash. For some, it is an inconvenience, because customers may object to receiving Scottish notes as change. But the worst that can happen in those circumstances is that the notes are later deposited with the rest of that day’s takings.

The latest refusal to accept Scottish bank-notes does not reflect well on McDonald’s, even if a franchise holder is the culprit. The chain which trades under the most Scottish of names should have a quiet word in his ear.

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