Activists fight 'threat' to Scottish banknotes

SNP activists yesterday voted to fight to protect Scottish bank-notes from what they believe is a Treasury scheme to wrest control from Scottish banks.

Nationalists voted to resist a UK government plan to place new restrictions on the issuing of Scottish banknotes.

At the moment, Scottish banknotes are not strictly legal tender throughout the UK, so anybody can refuse to accept them. The Treasury wants to allow them to be classed as legal tender.

This would prevent anybody from refusing to take the notes as part of a transaction, but the change would also bring with it restrictions which campaigners believe could signal the start of the end for Scotland's distinctive currency.

If the Treasury is successful, Scottish banks would have to give much more money to the Bank of England to cover the notes they print and they would not be able to issue commemorative notes, such as the one this year in honour of Jack Nicklaus.

Stewart Stevenson, who tabled the motion to resist the plans, said Scottish banks could be barred from producing euro notes in the long term if Britain joined the euro.

That, he claimed, would spell the end for Scottish banknotes.

Mike Weir, the SNP MP for Angus, said: "The threat to Scottish banknotes is yet another threat to our financial sector."

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