Mystery surrounds the whereabouts of £50billion of banknotes in circulation

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FINANCIAL chiefs have lost track of £50billion of notes in circulation, says the public spending watchdog.

The money is not being used for transactions or in household savings.

Five public bodies, including the Bank of England, have lost track of £50billion of circulating notes

Instead, it could be in overseas holdings, unreported domestic savings, or the shadow economy — but the National Audit Office report says little is known about how much is where.

Five public bodies — the Treasury, Bank of England, Royal Mint, the Financial Conduct Authority and Payments Systems Regulator — oversee our cash system.

NAO said they need to take a more co-ordinated approach to ensure it works well for the consumer.

In 2010, cash was used in six in ten transactions.

By 2019, it was fewer than three in ten, and by 2028 it could be one in ten. NAO head Gareth Davies said: “As society progresses towards the wide use of digital payments, the use of cash is dwindling.

“HM Treasury now works more closely with public bodies in the cash system to achieve the Government’s goal of safeguarding access to cash.

“But the ap­p­roach is fragmented, and it’s not clear the action being taken will keep up with the pace of change.”

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