Digital money – “We do not want to be modern King Canutes,” says Lord Lamont


“The UK can seize the opportunity of global change,” the former Chancellor adds

In a world where over 50 of the world’s central banks are looking to launch their own ‘digital currency’, the UK is poised to reap first mover advantage, following the Bank of England’s announcement on Monday.

The former Chancellor, Lord Lamont, said today:

“Digital currencies are rapidly attracting increasing global attention and activity. It is important that, where appropriate, Britain seizes the opportunity to keep up with the global pace of change; there may be massive potential economic, regulatory and security benefits for our country.”

Lord Lamont is on the Advisory Board of The CityUnited Project, the City think-tank which has been leading the charge on this initiative. 

The former Chancellor added:  “The cost of payment and settlement is a measurable part of our GDP and may be significantly reduced.  We would not want to be modern King Canutes.”

Lord Lamont’s comments follow on the back of Monday’s announcement from the Bank of England and HM Treasury of the joint creation of a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) Taskforce “to coordinate the exploration of a potential UK CBDC. A CBDC would be a new form of digital money issued by the Bank of England and for use by households and businesses. It would exist alongside cash and bank deposits, rather than replacing them.”

Current Chancellor Rishi Sunak has dubbed this “Britcoin”, saying that it could be set to “cement the UK’s position as the world’s pre-eminent financial centre.”

Mr Sunak said: “Our vision is for a more open, greener, and more technologically advanced financial services sector.

“The UK is already known for being at the forefront of innovation, but we need to go further. The steps I’ve outlined today, to boost growing fintechs, push the boundaries of digital finance and make our financial markets more efficient, will propel us forward.

“And if we can capture the extraordinary potential of technology, we’ll cement the UK’s position as the world’s pre-eminent financial centre.”

Commenting further, The CityUnited Project’s Vice Chairman, Leigh Evans, said: 

“As the fifth largest economy in the world and with a globally-leading financial sector, the UK has an opportunity to establish the ‘gold standard’ for such a currency.

“The CityUnited Project is pleased to have been at the vanguard of this initiative, which has been well-received by stakeholders.  As the Bank of England and HM Treasury says, this does not replace cash in your pocket, but it will deliver benefits in many ways, reducing transaction costs and making the UK an even more efficient place to do business.”

“Last week we published our ‘Bluffer’s Guide to a Digital Currency’ and we are now working on detailed proposals with financial sector specialists.  We’re looking forward to contributing to the thinking of the Government’s new Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) Taskforce in the coming weeks.”

  • The CityUnited Project, 25 Apr 2021