PRECIOUS METALS

Bar, not gold bars for Bank of England?

The Bank of England has reportedly been asked to consider moving gold bars out of its vaults so space could be rented to a pub.

Staff reporter
Bank reportedly asked to consider renting space to a pub

Bank reportedly asked to consider renting space to a pub

In the bank's first hearing before British parliament's public accounts committee, the committee seized on a report criticising the bank for having more than 800 empty desks at its historic Threadneedle Street premises, Reuters reported.

"If you're making it easier for staff to work ... at home, would there be any thought to renting out aspects of Threadneedle? Would we see a Wetherspoon's?" the wire service quoted committee chair Meg Hillier asking, referring to a popular chain of pubs.

However the bank's court of directors chair Bradley Fried said a pub or commercial tenant would create a security risk.

He said Threadneedle Street was "a little bit unique, in that we are sitting on top of what is literally £140 billion worth (US$181.4 billion) of physical gold," Reuters reported.

Hillier then suggested moving the gold to a cheaper location, but Fried said the bank was moving some staff to Threadneedle, which might allow the other building to be partially leased, the wire service said.

Interestingly, the Bank of England had asked on its Facebook page earlier this month whether bank branches and pubs were disappearing from readers' local high streets.

It showed a chart illustrating that where banks closed, barbers and beauty salons opened.

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