HC Deb 20 March 1980 vol 981 cc631-2
12. Mr. Neubert

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the total annual cost to public funds of production by the Royal Mint of each category of notes and coins currently in circulation.

Mr. Lawson

Information about the costs of producing individual denominations of coins is commercially confidential. However, the total cost to public funds of coins produced by the Royal Mint for circulation in the United Kingdom in 1978–79, was some £14.7 million. The manufacture of bank notes is undertaken by the Bank of England, and cost £16.5 million in 1978–79

Mr. Neubert

Would my hon. Friend be good enough to examine the contents of his trouser pocket? Does he agree that, after years of inflation, our range of coins has become hopelessly out of date? Does he not further agree that the range should be adjusted to reflect present-day purchasing power? Will he take early action so that this will be seen as a result of the ravages of Socialism, and not as a result of his right hon. and learned Friend's policies?

Mr. Lawson

I am aware of my hon. Friend's deep interest in this subject. All the coins in circulation are economic to produce. However, the question of the coinage is constantly under review.

Mr. Freud

Will the hon. Gentleman explain why the costs are confidential? Further, what does he mean by "commercially confidential"?

Mr. Lawson

Information is commercially confidential because the Royal Mint is in the business of producing coins for many foreign Governments, as well as for the British Government. Many competitors are also in that business.

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