|Monty Hyams (1918-2013): Patent Information Pioneer||home||intro||derwent||personal||downloads||links|
Sterling devaluation sets a problem (1967)
Following repeated market pressures, the UK pound was devalued by 14.3% relative to the US dollar on 18 November 1967.
Within days, Monty wrote to Ringdoc subscribers to summarise the impact and make a proposal. The letter ran as follows:-
Subscription rates to Derwent Services have always been on the basis of dollars for United States subscribers and the pound sterling for all other countries.
Due to devaluation of the pound, maintenance of the present price structure would mean that the cost to United States subscribers and those residing in countries which had devalued would remain unchanged, whereas the cost to all other subscribers would be reduced.
The effect of devaluation will be to increase our operating costs to an alarming extent. We purchase large quantities of patents, periodicals, materials and abstracts from abroad, which have to be paid for in dearer foreign currency. At home, due to the increased cost of living, we shall be forced to pay more to attract and keep the right quality of technical staff and external abstractors.
Then came the proposal:
We feel that in the interests of maintaining an efficient and workable service, no one should if possible lose or gain by the devaluation. This can be achieved most fairly by placing a 14.3% (one-seventh) surcharge on the current sterling rates to subscribers in countries which have not devalued, and keeping the dollar conditions as they are. In this way all subscribers will pay for 1968 exactly the same amount, in terms of their own currency, as they had already expected to pay for the same service before the devaluation announcement.
We are confident that you realise the need for this decision, which unifies subscription costs, enables Derwent to provide a service of unreduced efficiency despite rises in expenditure due to devaluation, and involves no subscriber in any budgeted subscription cost change whatsoever.