Studies advise scrapping £50 notes to thwart crime and terrorism


Studies being conducted at the Harvard Kennedy School in Massachusetts have advised that high value bank notes be scrapped in the fight to stem crime, fraud and terrorism.

According to the Yahoo News, the elimination of £50 notes, $100 and €500 from circulation would seriously hamper criminal activities and go a long way towards stopping the untraceable transfer of large amounts of money.

This seems reasonable on the face of it: high value notes are the payment of choice for the crime world; it can’t be easy trying to transport large amounts of cash in twenty-twenty naira notes (Nigerian politicians I’m looking at you !:-x )

And it’s not like the average non-criminal Joe is walking around with wads of £50 notes in his wallet, so it’s not likely to be a denomination that will be too missed.

Peter Sands, the former chief executive of Standard Chartered Bank who led the study, said eliminating high-value notes would “make life harder for those pursuing tax evasion, financial crime, terrorist finance and corruption”.

 “Without being able to use high denomination notes, those engaged in illicit activities… would face higher costs and greater risk of detection,” he said.

He added: “Despite the rapid growth and development of electronic payment mechanisms, cash stills plays a vital role in the functioning of the economy.

“In every country cash is still the predominant method of making small payments, which represent the vast majority of all payments.”

On the one hand, I like this idea; everything that can be done to thwart crime should be done. It’s not like we’re scrapping money and going back to cowrie shells, this will have low impact on the majority of the population but have maximum impact on the criminals.

On the other hand…wait, what? So we can’t have nice things because of criminals? Are we also going to scrap Bentleys and diamond rings because of thieves? Or should we perhaps look into new, innovative ways of clamping down on crime?

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