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UK MPs urge caution on creation of digital pound

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UK parliamentarians on the cross-party Treasury Committee have urged to Bank of England to address data privacy and financial stability concerns before considering the implementation of a digital pound.

The Committee expresses concerns about the new risks a retail CBDC could pose to financial stability, suggesting that the UK economy may be more susceptible to bank runs if people are able to switch large amounts of bank deposits into digital pounds quickly in times of market turmoil, increasing the risk of bank failures.

It also registered concerns regarding estimates that a steady switching of some bank deposits into retail digital pounds could increase the interest rates on bank loans by 0.8 percentage points or more.

To mitigate these risks, Committee members suggest a smaller limit on the value of retail digital pounds each individual is initially allowed to hold than the £10,000-£20,000 limit currently mooted by the Bank of England and Treasury in their consultation.

MPs have also urged the Government to alleviate privacy concerns around the misuse of personal data through robust regulation and legislated protections.

The Treasury Committee further notes that the next stage of work on a retail digital pound could incur significant costs and urges both the Bank of England and Treasury to be transparent about these costs through annual reporting.

Chair of the Treasury Committee, Harriett Baldwin, says: “It must be clearly evidenced that a retail digital pound will provide benefits to the UK economy without increasing risks or leading to unmanageable costs before any decision is taken to introduce it into our financial system.

“We must also keep a close eye on ensuring that any retail digital pound does not worsen financial exclusion for those reliant on physical cash. The digitisation of money can’t, in any way, leave those people behind.

“While we support the Bank of England’s plan to continue working on the design of a potential retail digital pound, I would urge them to proceed with caution and maintain a genuinely open mind as to whether one is actually needed.”

 

Source: Finextra

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