MP proposes law to ensure Scottish banknotes are accepted UK-wide

An MP has lodged a bid to make it legally binding for Scottish banknotes to be accepted across the UK.

The move comes after Judy Murray tweeted about her Scottish note being refused when she tried to buy doughnuts at a London bakery.

The tennis coach, and mother to tennis stars Andy and Jamie Murray, said she was told “we only take British ones”, when trying to pay with a Scottish banknote.

Scottish Liberal Democrat deputy leader Alistair Carmichael has lodged a Bill in the House of Commons to have Scottish banknotes accepted throughout the UK and to oblige businesses to accept them as payment.

Scottish banknotes are legal currency in the UK but not legal tender.

No banknotes are classed as legal tender in Scotland and the Royal Mint explains the phrase is a narrow technical term referring to the settlement of debts, and in ordinary transactions both parties can agree to accept “any form of payment”.

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.

Alistair Carmichael
Alistair Carmichael

“There is no reason to make a distinction between Scottish and other banknotes as acceptable payment.

“It’s beyond time we give legal force to the well-known phrase ‘that’s legal tender, pal’.

“I hope that this Bill will encourage businesses across the UK to recognise and accept Scottish currency.”

An earlier attempt to legislate for Scottish banknotes to be accepted throughout the UK was made by current Scottish Secretary David Mundell.

His Scottish Banknotes (Acceptability in United Kingdom) Bill was put before the UK Parliament in 2009 but was not made law.