Brexit 50p coins to be melted down following extension

The original design for the special 50p coin marking Brexit. Photograph: HM Treasury/Twitter.

The original design for the special 50p coin marking Brexit. Photograph: HM Treasury/Twitter. - Credit: Archant

Limited edition Brexit 50p coins, dated October 31 2019, are set to be shredded and melted down after the UK's departure from the EU was delayed to January 2020.

The special coins were originally designed to be minted in time for Britain leaving the trading bloc by Friday.

However, today the Treasury confirmed these coins would be recycled now that the EU has agreed a Brexit extension with the government.

A HM Treasury Spokesman said: "We will still produce a coin to mark our departure from the European Union, and this will enter circulation after we have left."

According to the Royal Mint website, precious metals, such as 50p coins, are sorted and shredded before being melted down. Metals are then purified and solidified before being turned into new products.

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The cost of designing and producing the commemorative coins will be met by the Royal Mint out of its own revenues at no cost to the taxpayer.

Chancellor Sajid Javid had asked officials to look at whether it would be possible to produce the coins in volume ready for the UK's scheduled EU leaving date of October 31.

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Former chancellor Philip Hammond had planned a limited edition of around 10,000 commemorative coins to be sold to collectors for £10 each.

Javid's revised the proposal for the coins to be produced for mass circulation. This was portrayed as a statement of intent that the Treasury was fully behind Brexit.

The coins will carry the words "Friendship with all nations", but will be stamped with a new departure date - currently set to be January 31 2020.

Tom Brake, the Lib Dem spokesman on Brexit, said it was "symbolic of the waste that is Brexit".

He said: "These coins were commissioned simply to prop up Boris Johnson's ego. The Royal Mint should not have to foot the bill for the Tory government's failure to meet it's self-imposed Brexit deadline.

"This comes on top of the millions of pounds that Boris Johnson has thrown away on his pointless 'Get Ready for Brexit' propaganda campaign. This is cash that could have been spent on our NHS, our schools and tackling the climate emergency.

"Liberal Democrats are the strongest party of Remain. We will keep fighting to stop Brexit and give people the final say with a People's Vote."

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