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UK to feature BAME people on coins

After a long running campaign, Britain's currency is set to feature figures from the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups on coins for the first time ever.

Updated Jul 27, 2020 07:40 AM

UK to feature BAME people on coins

The Banknotes of Colour campaign has been urging the government to consider featuring non-white individuals on British coins or notes.

A non-white individual has never featured on coins or notes in the UK.

The campaign is spearheaded by former Conservative parliamentary candidate, Zehra Zaidi.

The government's interest is the "culmination" of two and a half years of hard work, Zaidi told The Independent newspaper.

"People from all backgrounds helped build Britain. The 'We Too Built Britain' campaign group wanted to show inclusive history and all the people from all ethnic and social backgrounds and all walks of life who helped build Britain.

"Notes and coins – if you see Bank of England and Royal Mint websites – are supposed to reflect those who we feel contributed to our history, economy, and culture as a nation.

"Our campaign felt an absolute urgency to acknowledge that ethnic minorities have been part of that conversation and achieved so much. We hope it helps build cohesion, inspires young people and unites us as a nation that we all have an equal stake and contribution in society.

"Unity now is more important than ever, especially given some of the divisions we see online, the divisions we have faced post Brexit. Let's move forward, positively, acknowledging all our contributions," Zaidi added.

Treasury Minister John Glen told The Sunday Telegraph that Chancellor Rishi Sunak is contemplating campaigners' demands to have influential figures from the BAME community featured on a set of coins.

Noor Inayat Khan, a World War II agent; Mary Seacole, British-Jamaican Crimean War nurse; and the first Indian and Gurkha soldiers who were awarded with the Victoria Cross, are potential figures being considered to feature on currency.

The Treasury has encouraged the Royal Mint to draw up suggestions and designs for possible coins.

Glen told the paper that Sunak was "keen to support" the "timely proposal".

"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."

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