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Currency Design

Volume 405: debated on Monday 19 May 2003

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To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer who (a) is consulted and (b) approves new designs for (i) coins of the realm, (ii) banknotes and (iii) postage stamps. [113849]

When introducing a new coin, the Royal Mint takes into account the needs of the blind and the visually impaired, and regularly consults with representative bodies on these issues. It also consults representatives of the banks, the Post Office, retailers and the vending machine industry. The subject to feature on a new coin is approved by the Queen on the recommendation of the Chancellor in his capacity as Master of the Mint. Once the choice of subject has been decided, the Royal Mint Advisory Committee invites coin designers and artists to submit designs. The Advisory Committee recommends its preferred choice to the Chancellor for him to seek the approval of the Queen if he is content.Choosing the design of Bank of England banknotes is the responsibility of the Bank of England itself. The Bank consults with the Royal National Institute of the Blind. Exemplars of new notes are sent to the manufacturers of vending machines that accept banknotes, and are also offered to the commercial banks and the Post Office. Retailers are informed in advance of the new note.Consultation on new stamp designs takes place with the independent Stamp Advisory Committee, which includes representatives from the Department of Trade and Industry and the Royal Mail Board. New designs are submitted to the Queen for approval.