§ Mr. E. GRENFELL
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the cost of the buildings, machinery and plant of the Royal Mint; at what value these stand in the books of the Mint; what is 2500W the cost of upkeep per annum; and are the expenses, namely, upkeep, interest and depreciation, taken into account when fixing the price of medals and other work executed by the Mint for private parties, such as Nobels and the Royal Academy, in competition with private firms already handicapped by the heavy burden of rates and taxes?
According to the latest valuation made last year, the total present value of buildings, plant and machinery at the Mint is £200,000. This figure is included in the costing accounts kept by the Department, and depreciation at a fixed rate per annum is assigned to general oncosts, which are in turn allocated over costs of production. As with every public Department, a sum representing an annual contribution in lieu of rates is also included in the general on costs. The cost of upkeep varies every year according to the amount of work to be done, the total expenditure each year being included in the accounts published with the annual report. The Mint exists primarily for the manufacture of gold and token coins, and official medals and seals, but when work of the nature referred to by the hon. Member is undertaken, this is conducted on ordinary commercial lines, and due regard is had in fixing prices to the costs referred to in the earlier part of the question.