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Tuesday, Dec 01, 2020

Royal Mint to produce a new coin with the first BAME person to feature in UK history

Mhatma Gandhi will be the first non-white person to be represented on a British coin, it has been claimed.

The Royal Mint Advisory Committee is working on a new coin that will include the first-ever BAME person on UK currency. The news comes after Chancellor Rishi Sunak wrote to the Royal Mint to encourage them to place more BAME people on to the UK's currency. M Sunak has taken on the role of Master of the Mint, a duty linked to his position as Chancellor.

In a letter to the Royal Mint Mr Sunak said: “I am writing today to the chair of the Royal Mint Advisory Committee, Lord Waldegrave…asking the RMAC sub-committee on themes to consider recognising the contributions of Black, Asian, and other ethnic minority individuals not just to our history, but to our present and future as well”.

The Chancellor was enthusiastic to have more BAME people featured on UK currency and has been a supporter of the We Too Built Britain campaign.

Writing to the campaign to show his support Mr Sunak said: "Black, Asian, and other ethnic minority communities have made a profound contribution to the shared history of the United Kingdom.

"For generations, ethnic minority groups have fought and died for this country we have built together; taught our children, nursed the sick, cared for the elderly; and through their enterprising spirit have started some of our most exciting and dynamic businesses, creating jobs and driving growth."

Leader of the We Too Built Britain campaign Ms Zehra Zaidi said: "We welcome the Chancellor's support of our three-year campaign on legal tender and for a set of coins on 'Service to the Nation'.

"We are ready and keen to work with HM Treasury and Royal Mint officials to ensure the process is as inclusive as possible.

"Let's use this set of coins to celebrate the best of Britain."

The We Too Built Britain campaign has proposed some historic figures that could be used on the coins.

This includes the first Indian and Gurkha soldiers to receive the Victoria Cross.

They also proposed the Jamaican-British nurse Mary Seacole.

Another suggestion was to represent British Muslim woman Noor Inayat Khan.

She was one of only four women to receive the George Cross.

The first figure to feature will be Mahatma Gandhi.

Gandhi was famous for leading non-violent direct action against British rule in India.

His approach of using mass peaceful demonstrations that frustrated the ability of authorities to administer power was inspired by similar campaigns of Daniel O'Connell a century before.

After working as a lawyer in South Africa, Gandhi returned to India and became the leader of the Indian National Congress in 1921.

He led a nationwide campaign for the independence of India, then ruled by Britain.

The prominent figure also campaigned for women's rights, easing poverty and ending the untouchability of India's lowest caste, who were and still are greatly discriminated against.

A spokesperson for The Royal Mint said: “We are working with the Chancellor and the Royal Mint Advisory Committee to develop a proposal for a coin commemorating Mahatma Gandhi. It is too early to reveal further specific details about the coin as we are still in the initial stages of discussions.”

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