One small step against the shadow economy

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I am pleased to note the FT reporting that the European Central Bank has announced there will be no new issues of €500 notes. The last was in 2014.

This is a necessary but small step forward in the fight against financial crime, where it is believed that the use of such notes (which represent 30% of all euros in issue by value but are almost never seen) is commonplace.

The FT reports hostile reaction by libertarians and cash savers in Germany and Austria. I have little sympathy. They are not being prevented from doing anything and a greater good is being served. This is a step in the right direction.

The US, Swiss, Japanese and even the UK £50 note (which is almost never used in normal use) should go the same way.

PS As an afterthought, I reluctantly bought a new television at the weekend, and only because the last had ceased to function. When asked how I wished to pay cash was offered as an option so I quizzed the salesperson on its use. The previous customer had apparently paid £6,000 in cash and this is, apparently, commonplace.

If I was HMRC I might be looking at that: names and addresses have to be supplied when buying televisions.