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Tallow in UK currency: Hindu group disappointed

A leading Hindu group in UK has expressed disappointment at the Bank of England’s decision to use an animal-derived polymer in new currency notes despite complaints.

world Updated: Aug 11, 2017 19:25 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
new £5 note,Britain currency,National Council of Hindu Temples (UK)
File photo of the new polymer £5 note featuring Sir Winston Churchill being unveiled at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, Britain, in June 2016. (Reuters)

The National Council of Hindu Temples (UK) on Friday expressed disappointment at the Bank of England’s decision to go ahead with the use of polymer based on animal products in producing new currency notes despite complaints and a public consultation.

For some in the Indian community, the 2016 decision of the Bank of England to use the polymer in new notes that areexpected to last longer evoked memories of the 1857 uprising, as Hindu and Sikh organisations, vegetarians and others protested.

However, the bank did not stop the production of the new £5 note, and has now decided to use the same process for thenew £10 noteexpected to be introduced later this year.

It said 3,554 people responded to the publicconsultation, and of those who expressed a preference, 88% were against the use of animal-derived additives and 48% were against the use of palm oil-derived additives.

However, the bank said there would be no change on the ground of value for money: “The estimated extra cost of switching has increased since the consultation and is now estimated to be around £16.5 million over the next ten years.

“The Bank has consulted with Treasury, as the ultimate bearer of this additional cost is the taxpayer. Treasury advised the Bank that it does not believe switching to palm oil derivatives would achieve value for money for taxpayers.”

Satish Sharma, general secretary of NCHT (UK), said: “The decision to take no heed of the contributions of 88% of respondents who submitted details of a value based position to the bank, although not unexpected, is disappointing.

“The bank has determined that there is a monetary value to the ethics and morals of a rapidly increasing number of British citizens, ie, the vegan and vegetarian community, and also of the religious and spiritual values of the members of the Dharmic traditions who view all of life as one family.”

According to Sharma, for many Hindus, Sikhs and Jains as well as vegans and vegetarians, the spirit of money transactions “will be tainted’, which will affect donations and monetary activities of Hindu temples in the UK.

A petition to ban the use of tallow in notes attracted more than 135,000 signatories.

First Published: Aug 11, 2017 19:25 IST