News 26 July 2020

Black & Asian figures could feature on British coins for the first time

26 July 2020

Rishi Sunak is considering proposals by a campaign group to put Black, Asian and other minority ethnic figures on to banknotes and coins.

According to the Sunday Telegraph, plans have been submitted to the Royal Mint and if they go through, ethnic minorities will appear on British currency for the first time in history.

John Glenn, the treasury minister said in an interview, “The Chancellor is aware of this. We are obviously supportive and keen to be positive about it, we need to see some firm proposals from the Royal Mint but we are keen for this to happen.”

Those suggested to be imprinted on the coins include Mary Seacole, the Jamaican-born Crimean war nurse, Noor Inayat Khan, a WWII agent and the Indian soldiers who received the Victoria Cross.

The move follows rallying by the Banknotes of Colour group led by Zehra Zaidi which pushes for diverse faces to appear on the British currency.

Speaking on her campaign, Zehra said, “Currency represents how a country sees itself, its history and culture. Who is chosen as the face of a banknote is more than symbolic, the face chosen can act as a brand ambassador across the world.”

“There has never been any ethnic minority person ever on a British banknote. That gives the impression that no ethnic minority person has done anything of significance”