§ Mr. Spearing
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if, pursuant to his statement of 7 December 1990,Official Report, column 639, he will list the organisations which were consulted in respect of the shape and size of the new five pence coin, indicating those who approved of its introduction; what further consultations he has in hand, or has completed, concerning the proposal to phase out the 10p and 50p coins, respectively; when replies to such consultations must be made; and when he expects to make any relevant decisions.
§ Mr. Maples
In July 1987 the Royal Mint issued a consultative pamphlet, "The United Kingdom Coinage". This set out four options for making the coinage lighter together with the option of "no change". The consultation was announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer at the Trial of the Pyx on 1 May 1987 and in a Treasury press notice. It was widely reported in the press at the time. Comments were received from the general public and from a wide range of organisations representing:
- 1. The handicapped, the blind and the elderly.
- 2. Manufacturers and operators of coin-operated machinery.
- 3. Bulk handlers of cash such as banks, supermarkets and retail outlets.
- 4. Local Government, education and Chamber of Trade.
A substantial majority of those who commented favoured change and preferred the option in which the 5p was replaced by a coin similar to the old sixpence, and the 10p with one similar to the then existing 5p.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, having carefully considered all the responses to the consultation, announced on 17 December 1987 that he had decided to introduce the most popular option. The precise specifications of the new coins were decided later following consultations with the blind and with manufacturers of coin-operated machines. As a result of the discussions with 508W representatives of the blind, it was agreed that the new coins should have a pronounced milled edge to make them more easily identified by touch.
Following discussions with the banks and the vending industry on timing, the new 5p coin was introduced into circulation on 27 June 1990. It has subsequently been decided, again after consulting the banks and the vending industry, that the new 10p coin will be introduced into circulation from September 1992 together with copper-plated 1p and 2p coins. The precise date has still to be announced but will be discussed with the banks and the vending industry. The old 5p coin was demonetised on 31 December 1990, but no decision has yet been taken on when to demonetise the existing 10p coin. The existing 1p and 2p coins will continue in circulation.
There are no plans at present for any further changes to the coinage.