The Treasury has confirmed the taxpayer will be footing the bill for the special 50p coins minted to commemorate Brexit on 31 October that are now set to be melted down.
The Treasury confirmed to City A.M. that it was paying for the production and circulation of the coins, as they were due to become legal tender, but a spokesperson said the details of the costs were commercially sensitive.
It emerged last night that hundreds of thousands of coins minted with the planned 31 October leaving date are set to be melted down after Prime Minister Boris Johnson accepted a Brexit extension from the EU.
Chancellor Sajid Javid had asked the Royal Mint to have three million coins engraved with the planned departure date ready to enter circulation on 31 October, but production was paused last week as it became clear Brexit would be delayed.
Johnson formally accepted the EU’s offer of a three-month extension to 31 January 2020 yesterday.
A decision was taken to melt down the coins – which were already being minted – shortly after, Bloomberg reported.
It cited a source familiar with the matter as saying that hundreds of thousands of the coins had already been produced.
The cost of designing and producing commemorative coins which do not enter circulation is met by the Royal Mint, but the Treasury funds those that are circulated.
The coins were due to feature a message of “Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations”. They will now be recycled, according to the Treasury.
A Treasury spokesperson said “We will still produce a coin to mark our departure from the European Union.”
Javid’s predecessor, Philip Hammond, had also planned to produce commemorative 50p coins engraved with the original Brexit date of 29 March, but had intended to issue a more limited edition of around 10,000 coins to be sold at £10 each.
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