HC Deb 03 August 1965 vol 717 cc1245-6
1. Sir G. de Freitas

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in view of the Government's desire to encourage decimalisation, he will mint more florins and cease to mint half-crowns.

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Niall MacDermot)

The recent announcement of my right hon. Friend, the President of the Board of Trade, referred only to the metric system, and not to decimalisation, which is still under consideration. Meanwhile, the Mint will continue to meet the demand for half-crowns as well as for florins.

Sir G. de Freitas

May I remind the Financial Secretary that, as long ago as 1849, when the florin was introduced, it was said to be a first-step in decimalisation, and was actually described officially as one-tenth of a £? Will he not try to see if we can have some progress on this matter, now that yet another Commonwealth country has gone decimal? Does he recall what Mr. Gladstone said on this in 1854?

Mr. MacDermot

As we are having exercises in history, may I remind my hon. Friend that in 1849 minting of half-crowns ceased with the introduction of the florin? The demand for half-crowns continued to prove so great that minting was resumed in 1874. The two coins at the moment are about equally popular. If a decision in favour of decimalisation is taken, the matter will have to be reconsidered, and no doubt the florin would then replace the half-crown.