An investigation to find where around £50bn of “missing” banknotes have been “stashed” should be launched, a committee monitoring the effectiveness of public spending has said.
The Public Accounts Committee said the Bank of England needs to “get a better handle on the national currency it controls”.
It said authorities have been behind the curve in ensuring access to cash for consumers and businesses, and are failing to understand or act on the dangers of hardship if the UK continues moving towards a cashless society.
The committee said there are implications for public policy and the public purse if a material proportion of the large volume of banknotes whose whereabouts or use are unknown are being used for illegal purposes.
It said the Bank of England does not “appear to have a convincing reason for why the demand for notes keeps increasing” or any real understanding of where around £50bn of issued sterling notes are.Advertisement
However, the committee acknowledged that it is a trend being seen with other major currencies.