We have written a great deal over the last year about how and why the world’s central bankers would like to ban cash. I won’t go into the reasons for that again here. You can read previous pieces on it here.
But the launch of the new £5 note led me to think about when we might see our other notes being reissued as polymer notes. So I went to look on the Bank of England website, where I found a timetable for the launch of a new £10 note and for a new £20 note. But not one for the launch of a new £50 note.
Then this morning I had a chat with Adam Fergusson – the brilliant author of When Money Dies and one of the speakers I am most looking forward to hearing at the upcoming MoneyWeek conference. Had I noticed, he said, that so far this year no £50 notes have been printed at all? I had not.
I went back to the Bank of England website. Click on it and run your eye down to the third table headed Production of English Bank Notes. In the column for 2015/16 the number of new £50 notes actually produced (as opposed to issued) is listed as zero.
Not so much a ban as a gradual phasing out?