London: Chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak’s office confirmed on Sunday that Mahatma Gandhi’s image on a coin is being considered as part of efforts to celebrate achievements of non-white individuals such as Indian-origin British spy Noor Inayat Khan and Jamaican British nurse Mary Seacole.
Sunak has written to the Royal Mint Advisory Committee (RMAC) that recommends themes and designs of coins, supporting a campaign called “We Too Built Britain,” which seeks representation of non-white icons on British currency.
The proposal to put Gandhi’s image on a British coin was made by former chancellor Sajid Javid in October 2019. If the proposal now becomes reality, it would make the Indian independence hero the first non-White person to feature on a British coin.
In a letter to Zehra Zahidi, who has led the campaign, 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”.
“I am writing today to the Chair of the Royal Mint Advisory Committee (RMAC), Lord Waldegrave…asking the RMAC Sub-Committee on Themes to consider recognising this very great contribution on our nation’s coinage,” he wrote.
The chancellor’s office confirmed that the RMAC is currently considering a coin to commemorate Gandhi, adding that Sunak is keen that British coins commemorate the work of the previous generations who have served the UK and nations that form the Commonwealth.
Campaigners previously sought Noor Inayat Khan’s image on a new £50 note, but the Bank of England announced that the new series to enter circulation in 2021 will have the image of computer pioneer and code-breaker Alan Turing.