Time for change? What is the future for 1p and 2p coins?

*** UPDATE 03.05.19 ***

This week, the UK Treasury confirmed that 1p and 2p coins will continue to be used “for years to come”.

A year after Chancellor Philip Hammond declared these lower denomination coins ‘obsolete’, their safety has now been secured.

There was much discussion regarding the future of 1p and 2p coins following the Treasury’s doubts over the validity of these coins, as well as the £50 note in the 2018 Spring Statement.

Now that the result of the review has been announced, what do you think about the decision and do you think the pennies should be dropped?

Following the 2018 Spring Statement, a spokesman for Theresa May said that there are no current plans to abolish the coins, however with the increased move towards digital payments, questions still remain as to whether it makes economic sense to continue producing these less frequently used coins and notes.

The Treasury consultation document revealed that The Royal Mint is currently issuing more than 500m 1p and 2p coins each year in order to replace those falling out of circulation.

In fact, six in ten UK 1p and 2p coins are only used once before being saved in a jar or thrown away!

Countries such as Canada, Australia, Brazil and Sweden have already scrapped lower denomination coins that are not in demand and it seems that the UK is also beginning to question the future of these coins as demand continues to fall. But how would you feel about removing 1p and 2p coins from circulation?

Only 15% of consumer spending in 2015 was accounted for by cash, with more and more people now turning to contactless and other digital payments – a trend which is forecast to become the most popular payment method in 2018.

On the other hand, the Treasury also suggested that cash is not obsolete. It’s estimated that 2.7 million people in the UK rely on cash and “It continues to play an important part in the lives of many people and businesses in the UK, whether as a budgeting tool or as a cheap and convenient method of payment”.

With regards to the £50 note, the Treasury says, “There is also a perception among some that £50 notes are used for money laundering, hidden economy activity, and tax evasion”. Despite rarely being used for “routine purchases”, there is still a demand for the £50 note overseas, alongside euros and dollars.

In our 2016 blog post, we asked Change Checkers if they thought it was time to scrap the penny and 53% of you believed we shouldn’t, as it is part of the British culture.

Has your view now changed and do you think we should make a move towards digital rather than cash payments?

Have your say by voting in our poll on Facebook:

Chris Boyce said, “We have had pennies since 785 AD. I believe it’s one of the oldest coins still being used today. English heritage is being lost everyday.. don’t let us loose the penny, 1233 years of history”.

If you’re interested in coin collecting, our Change Checker web app is completely free to use and allows users to:

Find and identify the coins in their pocket
Collect and track the coins they have
Swap their spare coins with other Change Checkers

Sign up today at: www.changechecker.org/app


  1. John Lewis on April 12, 2018 at 3:13 pm

    2p or not 2p that is the question? ?

  2. William Griffin on April 4, 2018 at 1:38 pm

    Another ploy to increase prices and make more profit for business and the rich.

  3. Richard Swift on April 4, 2018 at 11:35 am

    losing the 1p and 2 p will only leave the door open for minimum price increases of 5% (5p coin). but i cannot see my pension going up by 5%,

  4. Terry McElligott on April 4, 2018 at 11:19 am

    Your link above does not take you to that post on Facebook !

    I think there would have to be an improvement in pricing so that we see no more 99p prices on items for sale. One good thing I suppose. I was told by a business person that the other reason for the penny is so that staff have to open the tills to give change from a pound coin or above, this logically stops staff from pocketing the pound which you might see more of without the penny change in future.

  5. Ali on April 4, 2018 at 10:38 am

    I would be gutted as 1p is the only coin I collect as a date run – but in saying that – if I wasn’t a collector of date run I would def vote it out as I find them immensely irritating in my change and always throw them straight in a jar every time I get any.
    You have to move with progress

  6. Dave Cupples on April 4, 2018 at 9:28 am

    Perhaps time to re-invent the penny say as worth 25p and have 4 to the pound. This will mean the humble “penny” will survive and could feature Britannia on reverse with our Queen on the obverse

  7. Halfsixpence on March 19, 2018 at 11:41 am

    If the 1p disappear`s then who will look after my Pounds ?

    Quote – “look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves”

  8. George Slade on March 16, 2018 at 9:56 am

    Will this be a case of the consumer loosing out due to the cost of item’s being rounded up???

    • Rachel Hooper on March 16, 2018 at 10:33 am

      Hi George. Perhaps this could be a possibility, although of course we can’t say for sure what will happen and at the moment it seems that there are no plans to remove 1p and 2p coins.