To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he has estimated the cost to the Exchequer of running the competition for artists to design the reverse side of the eight denominations of the proposed Euro coinage as advertised in the Royal Mint's press release of 5 July. 
[holding answer 16 July 1996]: The Royal Mint announced on 5 July the launch of the national heat of a EU-wide competition to design the common faces of Euro coins. The competition is not restricted to artists from countries which have said that they intend to adopt the single currency.The total prize money being provided by the Royal Mint will amount to £6,000. In addition, the mint will commission a small number of designers and pay for the production of plaster models. These procedures and the level of prizes and fees are in line with the Royal Mint's normal procedures for selecting coin designs. The total administrative costs of running the competition are estimated to be about £35,000. The prizes for the European final of the competition will be financed from the European Community budget, towards which all European Union countries contribute.
The Government are committed to full involvement in preparations for economic and monetary union, including preparatory work on the single currency coinage, to protect the interests of the United Kingdom, including commercial opportunities for the Royal Mint and UK coin designers, whether or not the United Kingdom participates in the third stage of economic and monetary union.