HC Deb 15 July 1920 vol 131 cc2584-5

asked the Prime Minister whether the introduction of a paper currency in West Africa has caused the old silver coinage to be hoarded and to disappear from circulation; whether a new token currency is being coined in this country, and shipped out there, similar in colour to brass; whether these new coins are to replace the old copper coinage or the former silver coinage; if the latter, do they fulfil the stipulation in the recent Coinage Bill that they contain 50 per cent. of pure silver; and whether, in view of the reduced price of silver, he can see his way to restore the silver coinage to its pre-War fineness with a view to preserving the old belief of the natives in the soundness of British money?

Lieut.-Colonel GILMOUR

As regards the first part of my hon. Friend's question, it is hardly possible to say how far the introduction of notes has accentuated the tendency to hoard silver coins in British West Africa, which dates back to a period long before the introduction of paper currency. As regards the second part, the new alloy coins are substitutes for the West African silver coins, or for the paper notes of similar denominations, which have been found not to be altogether suitable to African conditions. As regards third part, the Coinage Act, 1920, does not apply to this coinage. The answer to the last part of the question is in the negative.


Have the Africans got bad money because they have no influence in this House? In view of the fact that the Indians have been able to retain their pre-War standard of rupee, can the hon. and gallant Gentleman not see his way to put both Africans and Indians on an equally fair footing?


How much have the British Government made out of this change in coinage, and do they realise that it has been made purely at the expense of the African negro?

Lieut.-Colonel GILMOUR

Obviously, I cannot answer the latter question. As to that of my hon. Friend (Mr. Stewart). I have answered the first part in my reply; as to the second, I will represent what he has said to the proper Department.

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