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Decimalisation 2

Context

1971. Do we need a new 25p coin?

When decimal coins were introduced in 1971 it spelt the end for the old halfpenny, the 'three-penny bit', the 'tanner' and the 'bob'.

The new coins were: ½p, 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p and 50p. The pound remained a paper note.

This clip, recorded six months after decimalisation, considers the need to introduce another coin, worth somewhere between 10p and 50p.

The speakers are John Hosker of the Consumers' Association and Noel Moore, one of the senior civil servants responsible for overseeing decimalisation.

In fact the new coin - the 20p - was not introduced until 1982. Thereafter: the new halfpenny coin was retired in 1984 (it had insufficient value and actually cost more to make than it was worth); the paper pound was replaced by a coin later the same year; the £2 coin was introduced in 1998.

Transcript

JOHN HOSKER, CONSUMERS' ASSOCIATION:

There does seem a little bit of evidence that a new denomination coin might be useful, somewhere between 10p and 50p, and one of the suggestions I've heard is that it should actually be a 20p coin.

NOEL MOORE, CIVIL SERVANT:

I think that's an interesting one. I think, first of all, if we were to have an intermediate coin between the 10 and the 50, it would probably be a 20 rather than a 25. It's easier to count in 20s than to count in 25s.

PRESENTER:

So, now that it is almost completed with the end of the copper and the threepenny bit this week, a conclusion from the Consumers' Association:

HOSKER:

On the whole it was handled extremely smoothly. It didn't cause an awful lot of problems. What we would all really like to know, and what none of us have yet found a way of checking, is just what it cost to the average consumer, and that's the very difficult thing.

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