Royal Mint privatization closer
by BBC News
government is to move ahead with plans which
will pave the way for the Royal Mint to be
The Mint, which produces all UK coins, is based
in Llantrisant in South Wales.
The Treasury said it was being given company
status in preparation for an injection of
private cash to "pursue further commercial
Unions and politicians accused the government of
"selling off the family silver", saying the move
would lead to job losses among the 70 staff.
The change, revealed in the Treasury's
Operational Efficiency Programme said there was
"now a strong case for the introduction of
private capital into the Royal Mint".
"This will best allow the business to pursue
further commercial opportunities and grow,
taking advantage of the resources and
opportunities which come from moving outside the
As well as producing UK currency and
commemorative sets, it also makes completed
coins, and blank coins, for other countries.
The privatisation would allow it to win more of
those contracts, the Treasury said, adding it
would "cement the Royal Mint's position as a
high-quality British manufacturing success,
competing and winning in global markets".
"Vesting" the Mint to give it company status was
started in 2004 but then stopped due to its poor
Once resumed, the process should be completed by
the end of 2009, the Treasury report said.
Plaid Cymru said that the decision to vest the
Mint now that it had been turned around, was
"It appears they are saying that if a public
business makes a profit then it should be
privatised," said the party's treasury affairs
spokesman Adam Price.
And the Public and Commercial Services Union
said that the "so-called efficiency savings are
spending cuts which we fear will result in real
people with bills to pay and mouths to feed
losing their jobs".
General secretary Mark Serwotka added: "We have
seen the impact of botched privatisations and IT
outsourcing in areas such as passports, the
Criminal Records Bureau and Tax Credits,
resulting in the government bailing out the
private sector at a cost of millions to the
But Royal Mint chief executive Andrew Stafford
welcomed the move.
"We have a strong strategy, strong team and
strong order book in place and I believe that
vesting will facilitate further growth, and
better secure the future sustainable success of
the business for our staff and customers," Mr
"It will allow us to pursue further commercial
opportunities and expand more rapidly, taking
advantage of the freedoms and flexibilities
which come from a move to company status, thus
confirming our position as a high-quality
British manufacturer and the world's leading