§ Not amended (in the Standing Committee), considered; reported without amendment.7.50 pm
§ The Economic Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Jock Bruce-Gardyne)
I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.
The purpose of the measure is essentially to improve the management of our currency in two ways; first, by rendering more logical the rules governing changes in coinage, to which clause 1 refers; and, secondly, by rendering, it is hoped, more logical the rules governing the fiduciary note issue, which is covered essentially in clause 2. The final part of the Bill has an even more esoteric purpose, with which I do not think I need to detain the House.
We had a useful discussion about the Bill in Committee. I venture to believe that there was agreement on both sides that it was a modest but sensible proposal which would make sense of some arcane procedures which were urgently in need of revision and enable the currency to be handled in a more logical manner in future. On that basis, I commend the Bill to the House.
§ Mr. Robert Sheldon (Ashton-under-Lyne)
The Economic Secretary said on Second Reading that the 12-sided threepenny piece was a remarkably ugly object. That is a disgraceful thing to say. It is one of the few corns that earned the affection of the British people. There is no coin, with the possible exception of the golden sovereign, whose passing has been mourned so much. It has always been one's hope that a similar standard of design in coinage would be achieved again, to improve on the present deplorable level.
During the Second Reading debate my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, Central (Mr. Cook) wished the Bill a fair wind, as I do myself. My hon. Friend looked forward to criticising it in depth in Committee, but so far from its being criticised in depth, it was not criticised at all. The implication that all hon. Members must accept is that the Bill is uncontroversial and that it is useful in bringing together the ways in which the currency needs to be managed. I take the same view. I am therefore happy to accede to the request that the Bill should be given its Third Reading.
§ Question put and agreed to.
§ Bill accordingly read the Third time and passed.