07/03/2013 04:21 EDT

Mark Carney Tackles Sexist Money, Takes Flak For Wife's Tea Taste

Mark Carney’s new job as the head of the Bank of England (BoE), which he began this week, comes with a $1.4-million salary and a $400,000 housing allowance. It also comes with a chauffeur.

But Carney, always eager to prove himself the workingman’s central banker, opted instead to ride London’s Tube to work.

The Daily Telegraph reports Carney was spotted on the 6:30 a.m. Central Line train to the City (as London’s financial district is known), checking the latest financial news on his iPad.

Carney reportedly won praise for this frugal use of British taxpayers’ money, but the erstwhile Bank of Canada chief waded into the first major controversy of his new job the moment he got to the office.

The Bank of England outraged women’s advocates around the U.K. earlier this year with the announcement that, it will replace social reformer Elizabeth Fry’s image on the five-pound bill with an image of Winston Churchill.

That means there will be no longer be women on British banknotes (save, of course, the Queen).

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Carney surprised many by tackling the controversy on his third day on the job, promising in a letter to Parliamentarians that he would make a decision about women on banknotes by the end of July.

I consider Sir Winston Churchill to be an excellent choice to appear on a banknote,” Carney wrote, as quoted by the Daily Telegraph. “However, I fully recognize that, with Sir Winston replacing Elizabeth Fry … none of the four characters on our notes would be a woman. That is not the Bank's intention.”

Carney added he began discussions on the issue on his first day on the job, with an eye on “how best to ensure that our notes represent ... a diverse range” of British figures.


Meanwhile, Carney’s wife, the prominent left-leaning social activist Diana Carney, stirred up some controversy this week with her declaration of opposition to something truly British — tea bags.

Diana Carney, who was raised in Britain, assailed tea bags as a waste of paper, referring to them on her blog as one of her “pet hates.”

Her comments may not endear her to members of the British public – for whom the tea bag has become a staple of everyday life,” SouthWest Business magazine commented.

The magazine added that recycled materials are now commonly used in the production of tea bags.