HC Deb 16 July 1959 vol 609 cc566-7
18. Mr. Fletcher-Cooke

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will for the future direct that the £5 note be printed in colours different from those of the present series in order to avoid confusion with the £1 note.

Mr. Erroll

My right hon. Friend does not consider that the change proposed by my hon. Friend is needed.

Mr. Fletcher-Cooke

Will my hon. Friend take note of the warnings issued by members of the Metropolitan bench to the effect that the £5 note in its present form is a dangerous instrument and, in certain lights, can be very readily confused with the £1 note, as has been the experience of many members of the population, including my noble Friend the Member for Aberdeen, South (Lady Tweedsmuir), who handed a £1 note over the counter the other day and received £4 10s. in change? In those circumstances, would it not be for the protection of the Revenue, apart from anything else, to look into this matter more closely than my hon. Friend is prepared to do?

Mr. Erroll

During the last two years there have been very few complaints from the public, but in view of what my hon. Friend has said, and in view of the experience of the noble Lady, my right hon. Friend will certainly look into the matter.

Mr. H. Wilson

While all of us would like more notes of this denomination, may I ask the hon. Gentleman to take the point, I am sure from both sides of the House, that probably the Bank of England has made a mistake on this occasion without realising it and that it is not necessary to back the Bank of England up to the hilt? Let the mistake be admitted. Remembering also the confusion with the Scottish £1 note, apart altogether from English £1 notes, would it not be wise, as soon as the present printed stock is exhausted, to issue a different colour, which I am sure most people would like to see?

Mr. Erroll

We were going on the very small number of complaints which have been received during the last two years since the subject was last raised. In view of this isolated example of a further complaint, I do not think that it would be justifiable to suggest a complete reprinting, but the Bank of England will certainly take account of what the right hon. Gentleman has just said.