HC Deb 28 March 1972 vol 834 cc223-5
23. Sir J. Rodgers

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of the cost of introducing and issuing a 50p note to replace half of the 50p coins.

Mr. Higgins

The additional costs could well be several million pounds. man is seeking. I think that the whole House would agree that two important matters are involved; first, that where the Government supply money they have a right to the necessary information and, secondly, that they have the capacity to protect the taxpayers' money which they have either loaned or invested. We are studying these matters. If we have anything further to say I will make a statement or write to the hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Maclennan

Will the right hon. Gentleman tell us what criteria will be applied by the new executive in making grants to companies? Will they be primarily related to sectoral considerations or to regional development considerations?

Mr. Macmillan

That is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry. This question is concerned with the protection of the money and relations with the Government when they have supplied it.

Following is the information:

over a period of years, mainly because notes have very much shorter lives than coins. But extra costs would also arise from the withdrawal of coins and the continuing use of both 50p coins and notes.

Sir J. Rodgers

Would my hon. Friend not agree that although it is such a large sum it would be a very small price to pay to restore the psychological respectability of 50p? Does he realise that the 50p piece is causing a great deal of damage to all the male pockets in this country? Will he bear that in mind when considering whether to introduce a 50p note?

Mr. Higgins

Alas, not so much damage as the pockets and purses were apparently causing to the 50p notes. This is a matter of cost. If we were to have both circulated together, many of the economies of having the coins circulating would be lost.