Dame Shirley Bassey was Stephen Doughty's nominee for a Bank of Wales banknote

Dame Shirley Bassey – a tax exile –  was Stephen Doughty’s nominee for a Bank of Wales banknote

Stephen Doughty, the backbench Labour MP for Cardiff South and Penarth, has suggested in the Commons that the image of Cardiff-born singer Shirley Bassey should figure on Bank of Wales banknotes issued by Lloyds Bank.

The proposal came in a debate on an amendment which  – theoretically – would enable the Lloyds Banking Group, which holds the “Bank of Wales” trademark, to issue banknotes in Wales.


  • In 1971 the “Bank of Wales” was  founded by Cardiff financier Sir Julian Hodge after he’d noted a plan by Welsh computer banking expert Richard Williams to re-establish the Bank of the Black Sheep” in North Wales – a quasi bank which would have printed its own currency.
  • Hodge’s bank was initially only allowed to use the title Commercial Bank of Wales after a tussel over nomenclature with the Bank of England, but in 1986  the name “Bank of Wales was formally adopted. A brand new bank building  was set up in Kingsway Cardiff but in the same year the Bank was taken over by the Bank of Scotland – which already printed its own Scottish banknotes.
  • In 2001 Bank of Scotland merged with the Halifax Building Society to become Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS) .
  • In 2008 at the height of the Labour Government’s catastrophic banking crisis Chancellor Gordon Brown pressured Lloyds Bank – a bank which had remained free of the problems afflicting other banks – to take over the failing HBOS bank to prevent its collapse. Unwisely, Lloyds did as Brown asked it to – with disastrous consequences.
  • In  2014 Lloyds announced that it would re-establish the “Bank of Wales” as a savings provider.

In the Commons MPs have now discussed –  no avail – a rather more far-reaching scheme to make  provision authorising the Lloyds Banking Group to issue banknotes in Wales.

[PDN Note: Lloyds is a Welsh bank anyway – having being originally founded by Welsh Quakers].

Jonathan Edwards (Plaid Cymru) raised the issue of Welsh banknotes in the Commons

Jonathan Edwards (Plaid Cymru) raised the issue of Welsh banknotes in the Commons

In the Commons Jonathan Edwards (Plaid Cymru treasury spokesperson) said the amendment before the house would deal with “the historical anomaly that prohibits Wales from producing its own distinctive banknotes.

He said “Both Scotland and Northern Ireland are allowed to do so, and so to celebrate their respective national figures and landmarks.”

Nick Thomas-Symonds Labour Work and Pensions spokesman suggested that an image of the former Labour MP for Pontypool Leo Abse should be printed on Welsh banknotes

Nick Smith Labour spokesman on the environment suggested – somewhat predictably –  that Aneurin Bevan, a son of Tredegar and founder of the National Health Service” should be a candidate for the banknotes.

Stephen Doughty (Labour MP for Cardiff South and Penarth Cardiff) argued the case for his constituent Shirley Bassey.

Stephen Doughty (Labour MP for Cardiff South and Penarth Cardiff) argued the case for what he called his “constituent” Shirley Bassey.

Stephen Doughty (Labour Cardiff South and Penarth) rose to say  “The honourable gentleman will note that two men—great men—have been recommended, but I would like to see more women represented on banknotes, whether they are Welsh or Bank of England notes. Does he agree that, whether or not one is a big spender, a resident of my own constituency, Dame Shirley Bassey, would be an excellent person to be on a Welsh banknote?”

Jonathan Edwards retorted that he had already seen that same suggestion on a Labour Party press release earlier that morning .  He said “The proposed amendment would allow Lloyds Banking Group, which holds the rights to the Bank of Wales brand and is in part publicly owned by Welsh taxpayers, to issue Welsh banknotes, just as is permitted for the three clearing banks in Scotland and four in Northern Ireland.”

Treasury Minister Harriet Baldwin explained why there wopuld be no Welsh banknotes issued by Lloyds under the Bank of Wales brand

Treasury Minister Harriet Baldwin explained why there would be no Welsh banknotes issued by Lloyds under the Bank of Wales brand

Harriett Baldwin The Economic Secretary to the Treasury said she sympathised with the  case made by Jonathan Edwards but that “the commercial advantage of issuing banknotes in Wales to just one bank would raise competition and commercial issues for others.”

She said “The Bank of England has already announced that future banknotes, starting with the polymer £5 note which will be issued in September 2016, will include symbols representing all four home nations. For Wales, the imagery will be taken from the Royal Coat of Arms and the Royal Badge of Wales. The Bank recently announced that the design for the £5 note would be revealed on 2 June 2016.”

She said “I am very glad that we have had a chance to discuss the merits of the amendment. The hon. Gentleman will understand why I cannot support it. However, I welcome the opportunity to convey the message that an important symbol of Wales will appear on our new banknotes.”

PDN Note:  In fact Shirley Bassey is not a constituent of Doughty’s and does not live in Cardiff South and Penarth .  According to Wikipedia Shirley Bassey has been a tax exile since 1968 and lives in Monte Carlo .

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  1. Christopher David says:

    And there you have it-this is what Doughty wastes his time on.

    • Philip Rapier says:

      My first choice to represent the proudly egalitarian people of Cardiff (South and Penarth) and Tiger Bay on Welsh Currency would be Billy Boston
      Acknowledged Worldwide and virtually anywhere but Cardiff it seems.
      Billy (now 81) was the first Black Rugby Player ever to play in Australia he destroyed racism barriers in Rugby Football with his sheer talent. So much so he is revered within the sport for this and his prolific try scoring record. His statue stands outside Wembley Stadium. I will be writing today to Mr. Doughty to campaign for one to be placed in Cardiff Bay.
      Born in 1934 in Cardiff’s Tiger Bay, Boston was the sixth of eleven children his father came from Sierra Leone, and his mother came from from Ireland. His ambition was to play for Cardiff Rugby team, but it was Neath who took him under his wing , It was after seeing Boston score six tries in the Army Cup Final against the Welsh Guards that Wigan signed him for £3,000 on Friday 13 March, 1953, which was not an unlucky day for rugby league. In 488 games for Wigan he scored 478 Tries in 34 for Great Britain 31.

      • Andrew sarchus says:

        Oh Mr Rapier- well done. A great post……at last. Mr Boston does sound worthy indeed.

      • Mark Foster says:

        Rapier, why put a mixed-race gay icon or rugby league player on a Welsh banknote who only represents a small minority of the people of Wales and Cardiff South and Penarth? Its because you clearly have an agenda to drastically change the culture and demographics of our country and town, while the vast majority of British people prefer it to stay essentially the way it is.

        Why don’t you be honest about it and put your cards on the table so people know your objectives and can make a clear honest political choice, instead of trying to con people with your Labour Party skullduggery and politically orchestrated responses to the first post on here.

        You would be happier in Capetown. Why don’t you try to emigrate there and contribute to their country instead of trying to destroy ours? Immigrants have an ethical obligation to return to their countries of origin like Syria, Iraq, Libya, Palestine to work to overturn the problems caused by those other stupid, captured British democratic politicians like Arthur Balfour, Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson.

      • Peter Church says:

        Mr Rappier, when you send your letter to Stephen Doughty, could you also explain what a limited company is. Coming from one labour icon to another he might listen to you.

        PS keep your letter short on to the point and try not to include too many lessons about the history of the glorious labour movement.

  2. Jan Harding says:

    Can someone please let me know what Shirley Bassey or Tom Jones have done to help or
    improve Wales? Do either of them ever donate anything to Wales, actually money I mean?
    Do either of them live in Wales, um no they don’t.

  3. R Stingl says:

    Why put her on it , She don’t live in wales plus she don’t consider herself welsh .

  4. pompousfruit says:

    Why not.

  5. Martin gossage says:

    ” Kiss me money money kiss me “

  6. Mark Foster says:

    Only a buffoon like Stephen Doughty would put a tax exile on a country’s bank note, the value of which would quickly fall to zero.

  7. Ann Other says:

    Pop culture. Have we nothing left but pop culture?

  8. Fishhenge says:

    Shane Williams please!

  9. sjleworthy says:

    Welsh bank notes, only issued and used by a single bank? This is funny stuff 🙂
    If this is the case who cares who goes on them? Shirl gets my vote innit 😉

  10. Brian says:

    The Health Service,the Education System,the basic infrastructure in Wales etc.etc. are the worst in the U.K. and our MP is devoting time and energy debating whether a picture of Shirley Bassey should be on a bank note !!!!!!! Looney Tunes strikes again!!!

  11. Christopher David says:

    Definition of money. “A common means of the exchange of goods and services the value of which is dictated but the perceived value of the economy producing it” GDP in Wales is 72% of the UK average. So perhaps we should have Danny DeVeto or Bilbp Baggins on the notes. Steve Doughty, Labour MP for Cardiff South, claimed £58.75 for mugs, a teapot and a coffee pot. That’s 58 3/4 Danny’s. He costs us over 400,000 Danny’s a year to keep- is he worth that to Penarth?

  12. Johnabutt says:

    This is the looniest left proposal in years. More like loopy left!

  13. snoggerdog says:

    wot about my mum best mum in the world !

  14. KnockJohn says:

    Whilst pop stars and movie celebrities have their place in modern culture, I am not convinced that they are deserving of a place on a nation’s banknotes. For me, another widely unrecognized but vital Welshman would be Robert Recorde who invented the equals sign; possibly the most important and widely used Welsh invention ever.


  15. Peter says:

    Good to see Mr Doughty championing the big issues of the day…

  16. Christopher David says:

    Yes Knock John Robert Recorde was indeed a genius and deserves this honour. Not many have heard of him but one of the best Wales has produced. Peter- we don’t want Doughty trying to deal with the big issues which are way beyond him. We want him doing worthy local things like saving Penarth’s tress from over pollarding and chopping.

  17. Parcel says:

    How about Katherine Jenkins, shes still living here and promotes Wales with her talent, then theres Charlotte Church, that ex opera singer………

  18. AK says:

    Does any living person, apart from Her Majesty the Queen, appear on any bank notes?

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