HC Deb 24 November 1970 vol 807 cc218-9
15. Mr. Hamling

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what orders are now in hand for the Royal Mint in Wales; how long they will take to execute; and what orders are anticipated.

Mr. Patrick Jenkin

Firm orders are in hand at Llantrisant for about 500 million coins and will take until about March, 1971, to execute. Forward production plans include a further 800 million coins to be minted by the end of 1971, but this forecast is necessarily provisional.

Mr. Hamling

I thank the hon. Gentleman for that reply. Is he aware that there is a widespread suspicion that there are not sufficient orders for the new Royal Mint in South Wales, and that there is redundancy already in the R.O.F. which supplies coin blanks, because too many have been made? Will he have a look again at the whole story of the movement of the Royal Mint from Tower Hill, which has occasioned so much disquiet among the workers there and in other places?

Mr. Jenkin

I must make it absolutely clear that we are not expecting any redundancy at Llantrisant. As to the question of looking at the whole story, I spent over five hours with deputations of workers representing the trade union side from Tower Hill and went into every possible argument for reversing the decision which had been taken by our predecessors. In the end I felt it right to advise the then Chancellor, Mr. Macleod, to confirm the decision.

Mr. Mikardo

Is it not a fact that we have the appalling situation of grave fears about future employment at Llantrisant, to put it at its worst, actual redundancy in the R.O.F. making blanks, a run-down at Tower Hill, and orders which formerly went to the Royal Mint being sub-contracted to other organisations? Is that what is called Tory scientific management?

Mr. Jenkin

In this we are merely continuing the policy pursued by our predecessors.

Mr. Geoffrey Finsberg

In the forward orders which my hon. Friend has just mentioned, has provision been made for the issue of proof sets of the new decimal coinage, which can be a valuable dollar-earner?

Mr. Jenkin

I am most grateful to my hon. Friend for that suggestion. This is under active review, and we can see the possibility of quite substantial business for the Llantrisant Mint for a number of sets. This would represent new business which the Mint has not done before, and will be a very welcome addition to its turnover.