Royal Mint (Sub-Contracting)

Oral Answers to Questions — National Finance – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 21st April 1970.

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Photo of Mr Ian Mikardo Mr Ian Mikardo , Poplar 12:00 am, 21st April 1970

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer why work is being subcontracted from the Royal Mint at the same time as workers are being declared redundant.

Photo of Mr William Rodgers Mr William Rodgers , Stockton-on-Tees

As the Estimates Committee concluded when it looked into this question, the practice of sub-contracting is beneficial to the Royal Mint and to our export trade. To discontinue it would not significantly affect the redundancy situation on Tower Hill.

Photo of Mr Ian Mikardo Mr Ian Mikardo , Poplar

Is my hon. Friend aware that the situation has changed radically since that investigation by the Estimates Committee? New machinery is being put into the Royal Mint and, simultaneously, redundancy is being declared, because of gross under-employment, at the new Mint at Llantrisant and, simultaneously, there is sub-contracting to a third institution whose prices are higher than the cost at the Royal Mint. Is not this a piece of managerial expertise, indeed managerial genius, which could be found nowhere outside Her Majesty's Treasury?

Photo of Mr William Rodgers Mr William Rodgers , Stockton-on-Tees

With respect to my hon. Friend, I do not think that even Her Majesty's Treasury could arrange things in quite the way he suggests. In fact, the matter is rather different, although I entirely appreciate his proper concern with the situation as it affects the Royal Mint, Tower Hill. There is no reason to believe—and we have examined this again since the Estimates Committee's Report—that the reasons why subcontracting is desirable have ceased to have relevance.

Photo of Mr Patrick Jenkin Mr Patrick Jenkin , Wanstead and Woodford

When the minting of the bronze coinage at Llantrisant is finished by the end of this year, what work will there be even for the Mint in Wales, let alone in Tower Hill?

Photo of Mr William Rodgers Mr William Rodgers , Stockton-on-Tees

When this matter was discussed in an Adjournment debate before the Easter Recess I made it quite clear to the House that, although we are concerned with the problems of redundancy in Tower Hill, we are satisfied that the main decision has been rightly made, and that Llantrisant will provide employment for large numbers of men for a long time ahead.