Filed Under: Cash and cash replacement, Money, Payment systems

Export and controls

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[Dave Birch] Well, it’s summer (I can tell that because of the traditional concurrent English flood warning and hosepipe ban) and time to think about my forthcoming holiday. Better get my spending money ready. As it happens, under European Union regulations, if you attempt to leave the EU with more than 10,000 euros in cash (but not pre-paid cards, phone top-up balances, wampun belts or any other instrument) then you must report yourself to the tax authorities, in my case Her Majesties Revenue and Customs. Now, as a matter of policy this blog is not for political comments, but I am moved to say that I don’t believe this will make the slightest difference to terrorists or drug dealers, but will probably result in some holidaying pensioners going straight to chokey. Accountants likened the law to a stealthy re-introduction of exchange controls which Margaret Thatcher’s administration abolished in 1979. We’ve explained before, for younger readers, what exchange controls were.

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The best bit of the recent coverage of the EU story was the revelation that British national treasure Cilla Black and her husband, may he rest in peace, Bobby were international currency smugglers. It transpires that while living in the misery of Harold Wilson’s Britain and labouring under the £50 limit for foreign exchange (about 1,000 euros in new money) — and at a time when ravellers had their passports marked with the amount of foreign currency they had bought at the bank — Cilla was struggling to pay the final £1,000 for a Spanish villa because of the controls. Her husband Bobby, a former baker, came up with a successful plan to hide the money in a hollowed-out loaf of bread. The maid at their villa was said to be intrigued to discover the couple eating toast with a hole in the middle.

Presumably the statute of limitations prevents an amusing and entertaining trial of the Scouse songstress for conspiracy to evade exchange controls.

These opinions are my own (I think) and presented solely in my capacity as an interested member of the general public [posted with ecto]

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