Draft Royal Mint Trading Fund (Extension and Variation) Order 2002

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Mr. Flight: I thank the Minister for her reply. It may not be fair to expect this information now, but I would be grateful to receive it subsequently. Is the Royal Mint trading fund already active, or has it been set up and those will be its operations? I thought that it already engaged in various activities generating revenues and profits or losses, as the case may be.

I understand that the manufacturer's supply of gifts is a new activity that is not yet profitable, but I would like to know what revenues are anticipated. Will the business generate 1 million a year, or much more than that?

Technically, the fund is a separate division of the Mint, and I understand that it will account separately. The Mint's account will be a consolidation of the two, but the fund will be a separate division with certain legal buttresses that give it a degree of legal and commercial independence. I assume that we will be able to find out how it is trading and what its revenues and profits are.

Ruth Kelly: Yes, that is certainly the case. In the future, when the Royal Mint is operating under one trading fund, we will publish overall profits and losses. I believe that the latest figure in the public domain is for 200001, when the Mint's turnover was 96 million, which produced a loss of 683,000. However, we cannot separate the collector coin and gifts from the circulating coin lines. That is commercially confidential information and could be used by other mints to gain market share. We must consider how best to improve the Mint's performance with benchmarking exercises, so that it can be measured against other mints and we can try to reduce costs.

Mr. David Cameron (Witney): Does the trading fund cover only gifts and collectable items, or does it go wider? The Minister may recall that I asked some written questions about the printing of euros, and I gather that the Royal Mint has printed some euros. Is that a commercial activity, because it involves another

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currency from our own? Would it be included in the trading fund now or perhaps later?

Ruth Kelly: The Mint tried to gain euro contracts in the run up to euro day for commercial reasons to enable it to enter the market, but it was less successful that it had anticipated. It will try again to obtain contracts in that area. The Mint's present activities, except for non-coin gifts and collectables, operate under a trading fund on a commercial basis. The order

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adds the collectables side to the overall structure so that the Mint can operate more pragmatically and invest more sensibly. The order moves the process forward and puts the Mint on a more commercial footing.

Question put and agreed to.

Resolved,

    That the Committee has considered the draft Royal Mint Trading Fund (Extension and Variation) Order 2002.

Committee rose at fourteen minutes to Five o'clock.

The following Members attended the Committee:
Cummings, Mr. John (Chairman)
Cameron, Mr.
Chapman, Sir Sydney
Chaytor, Mr.
Davey, Valerie
Davis, Mr. Terry
Flight, Mr.
Galloway, Mr.
Kelly, Ruth
Meale, Mr.
Simpson, Mr. Alan
Southworth, Helen
Sutcliffe, Mr.
Truswell, Mr.
Williams, Mr. Roger

 
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