This Tuesday, the Treasury aired their doubts over the future validity of 1p and 2p coins, as well as the £50 note.
A spokesman for Theresa May has since said that there are no current plans to abolish them, 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.
Two years on, how has your view changed and are you now wanting to move towards digital rather than cash payments?
We posted a poll on our Facebook page this week and so far the results show 55% of you have voted against the idea of scrapping the penny.
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”.
Following the media storm of newspapers such as the Daily Mail saying it would be “a PR disaster in the making”, the Government has ruled out the idea considered by the Treasury, yet this has sparked interesting debate which we will continue to follow. Head over the Change Checker Facebook page to have your say by voting in our poll and see what our fellow Change Checkers think on this controversial topic.