Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a top-level task force to look into the benefits and risks of a Bank of England digital currency. Speaking at a financial industry conference, he said a joint Treasury-BoE task force was being set up as part of a range of measures designed to boost the City following Britain's departure from the EU.
The task force will be jointly led by the Bank's deputy governor for financial stability, Jon Cunliffe, and the Treasury's director general of financial services, Katharine Braddick. The two would “coordinate exploratory work”, said Sunak. He said he wanted the City to be at the forefront of innovation and to take advantage of regulatory freedom after Brexit. The chancellor is also keen to show that the City will remain a global financial centre despite the loss of jobs and business that has occurred as a result of Brexit.
BoE said that the task force would engage widely with stakeholders on the benefits, risks, and practicalities. Questions revolving around the move include how the Bank intends to get the new currency into the economy, how households and businesses would use it, and the implications for financial stability. Sunak, meanwhile, said his proposals would enhance the UK's competitive advantage in fintech.
“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.”