Monday, 24 September, 2018

United Kingdom government casts doubt on future of 1p and 2p coins

General Election- Documents Stock Spend a penny 60 per cent of 1p and 2p coins are only used once
Patty Aguilar | 15 March, 2018, 02:44

In documents released alongside Philip Hammond's update on the United Kingdom economy, it was revealed the Government wants to know whether the "current denominational mix meets the needs of cash users".

As part of the Spring Statement, the Treasury announced a consultation into the use of cash in the "new economy", where more and more people were making digital payments.

"From an economic perspective, having large numbers of denominations that are not in demand, saved by the public, or in long term storage at cash processors rather than used in circulation does not contribute to an efficient or cost effective cash cycle", the document says.

The document also revealed six out of ten 1p and 2p coins were used in only one transaction before leaving the cash cycle.

In the document the Treasury published on Tuesday there were some fascinating nuggets of information about how cash has fallen out of fashion in 21st century Britain, especially with the younger generation, so-called "millennials".

In fact, well over half of copper coins are used only once before finding their way into the coin jar - or even in the bin.

At the other end of the denominational scale, the government says the £50 note is believed to be rarely used for routine purchases and is instead held as a store of value.

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Government insiders stressed the real target was always the £50 note - given fears they are mainly used in criminal activities.

This means there is a high cost to keeping 1p and 2p coins in circulation relative to their face value and continuing usage, the paper adds.

Sara Coles, personal finance expert at investment firm Hargreaves Lansdown, warned that savers could be hit.

Aside from taking them to the bank to swap for proper cash, when was the last time you actually paid for something with some copper coins?

But No.10 indicated that 1p and 2p pieces were here to stay.

But a Treasury spokeswoman said it was a "commercially sensitive" subject and she could not give details on how much it cost to manufacture the 1p or 2p coin. It has me wondering how insane people are because that's perfectly good money that they're literally throwing away.

"To meet demand created by such losses from circulation, in previous years the government and the Royal Mint have needed to produce and issue over 500 million 1p and 2p coins each year to replace those falling out of circulation", the Treasury said.

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