HC Deb 28 April 1983 vol 41 c989
13. Mr. Neubert

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the number of £1 coins currently in circulation.

Mr. Ridley

It is rather too early to say how many are now in circulation, but some 62.8 million had been issued to the banks by 27 April.

Mr. Neubert

As, when begrimed by use, its size and weight will make it easily confused with other small change, is not this pseudo-sovereign a very unsatisfactory little coin? As the Government are committed to low inflation and honest money policies, would it not be appropriate to mark their achievements by redesigning the whole range of coinage, replacing some coins and retaining others, so that weight, size, shape and colour are in a logical relationship?

Mr. Ridley

My hon. Friend is an expert in these numismatic matters. However, the life of the new coin is thought to be 40 years, and that means that it will last longer than he suggests. After all, the sovereign has been with us for many hundreds of years. It was the coin of equivalent value in nominal terms, although in real terms it has increased greatly in the past few hundred years. I commend the new coin to my hon. Friend in the hope that he will find that people become used to it and find it easy to use, and find that it represents a useful addition to our currency.

Mr. Skinner

Will the new £1 coin drop through the hole in the pocket?

Mr. Ridley

That depends upon whether the hon. Gentleman keeps his trousers in order.

Mr. Cockeram

Now that we have a coin for the former £1 note, will my hon. Friend demonetarise that irritatingly small coin the ½p, which has a purchasing power less than that of the former farthing?

Mr. Ridley

Although the House would like to think that the life of the ½p is limited, there are no present plans to phase it out.