Bank of England consultation over animal fat in bank notes cost £1,500 a day
The Bank of England forked out £66,941 on a public consultation between March 30 and May 12.
The Bank of England has drawn fire after spending more than £1,500 a day on a consultation into the use of animal fat in new bank notes.
The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street forked out £66,941 on a public consultation between March 30 and May 12 following a furious backlash from vegetarians, vegans and religious groups at the tallow found inside polymer £5 and £10 notes.
The lion’s share of the money – £45,854 – was spent on external advisers and consultants, while £18,047 went into technical assessments and £3,040 on a Welsh translation.
After “careful and serious consideration” the Bank said in August that it would continue using the plastic currency, despite the consultation finding that 88% of people were against the use of animal-derived additives.
The money spent by the Bank of England can be revealed following a Freedom of Information (FOI) request by the Press Association.
The Bank declined to comment on the FOI.
John O’Connell, chief executive at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Taxpayers will find it astonishing that the Bank of England spent tens of thousands on expensive private consultants to respond to criticism it could have anticipated.
“Throwing taxpayers’ cash at any criticism cannot become the normal response, especially when there is little realistic chance of any change ever happening.
“Instead, the Bank could have done this work in-house for a fraction of the cost.”
More than 138,228 people have signed a petition calling for tallow to be removed from the polymer notes because it offends vegans, vegetarians, Hindus, Sikhs and Jains.
The Bank said the only alternative to tallow was palm oil, which would cost an extra £16.5 million over the next 10 years and is unsuitable because of its links to deforestation in South America.
The consultation, which had 3,554 responses, revealed 48% of the respondents were also against the use of palm oil-derived additives.
Tallow is made of rendered animal fat and is also used in debit and credit cards, mobile phones, carrier bags, cosmetics and household detergent.
The £5, £10 and the new £20 note typically contain around 0.05% of animal products.
It comes as the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee announced on Thursday that interest rates would rise for the first time in more than a decade to 0.5%.
Tim Farron, MP and former Liberal Democrat leader, said: “The Bank of England should be setting an example when it comes to public spending.
“Instead it appears not enough was done to ensure the best possible value for money.
“People will be rightly annoyed to see so much taxpayers’ money has been wasted in this way, especially at a time when borrowers are being hit with higher interest rates.”