20. Mr. J. Wells
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he can yet state the results of the investigations he has made into the desirability of introducing a decimal currency.
§ 23. Mr. Proudfoot
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he has yet completed his consideration of whether to introduce decimal currency in the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement.
§ 25. Mr. J. H. Osborn
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has considered the report on decimal coinage by the British Association for the Advancement of Science and the Associated British Chambers of Commerce, a copy of which has been sent to him by the hon. Member for Sheffield, Hallam; and whether, with a view to assessing the advantages of changing to a decimal coinage system in the United Kingdom, he will approach the South African Government for permission to send 293 observers to that country to study methods of overcoming transitional difficulties.
§ Mr. Selwyn Lloyd
I would refer my hon. Friends to the reply given on 16th February to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Taunton (Mr. du Cann). The Report by the British Association for the Advancement of Science and the Associated British Chambers of Commerce was not a Report to Her Majesty's Government. We are, however, giving its findings close consideration. We shall also take any steps to keep informed of developments in South Africa.
Has my right hon. and learned Friend had his attention drawn to an early day Motion signed by 78 hon. Members expressing the opinion that this is a practical business step?
§ [That this House calls attention to the need for decimal coinage, recognises the increasing and once-for-all cost of the change, notes the number of Commen wealth countries which have changed, or are changing, believes it to be a practical business decision, and urges Her Majesty's Government to introduce a decimal system of coinage at an early date.]
§ Mr. Lloyd
There are complications about it. If we take the £ as a unit and divide it into ten and 100, the lowest coin unit is 2½d. which is rather large. If we divide it by ten, then by 100 and 1,000, we get a very small one. If we do not take the £ as the basic starting point, there are very great complications in other directions.
§ Mr. Proudfoot
Does my right hon. and learned Friend realise that the cost of this inevitable step will be greater every day?
§ Mr. Lipton
Why not make the 10s. note into a £1 note, and then the problem of the decimal system will be solved?
§ Mr. Clark Hutchison
Is my right hon. and learned Friend aware that the present currency system is entirely satisfactory, and that no change whatsoever is required?