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MP proposes law to make Scottish banknotes legal tender

12 April 2019

An MP has lodged a bill to make Scottish banknotes legal tender across the UK, in a bid to prevent them being refused by businesses south of the border.

The move, by Alistair Carmichael, Liberal Democrat member for Orkney & Shetland, comes after tennis coach Judy Murray took to social media after her Scottish note was refused when she tried to buy doughnuts at a London bakery. She complained she was told "we only take British ones".

Scottish banknotes are legal currency in the UK but not legal tender, which latter phrase the Royal Mint defines as a narrow technical term referring to the settlement of debts. In ordinary transactions both parties can agree to accept “any form of payment”. No bankn otes are classed as "legal tender" in Scotland.

Mr Carmichael’s Legal Tender (Scottish Banknotes) Bill would mean no distinction could be drawn between Scottish banknotes and others in the UK as forms of payment. He 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."

The current Scottish Secretary David Mundell promoted a bill with the same purpose in 2009, but it did not become law. 

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