Copper coins to remain in circulation as Philip Hammond says 1p and 2p coins - as well as £50 notes - are going nowhere - iNews
by Florence Snead
They may spend more time stashed in jars than being used in everyday transactions but 1p and 2p coins are here to stay, the Government has announced.
Just a year after the Philip Hammond described the coins as “obsolete”, the Treasury has unveiled new plans to safeguard the future of cash from coppers all the way up to £50 notes.
Outlining his proposals, the Chancellor said there was no intention to change the current mix of coins and notes and that all denominations would stay in circulation.
The move follows concern over the last year about the rate at which communities are losing easy access to cash amid bank branch and ATM closures as more and more payments are made electronically.
But around 2.2 million people are estimated to be almost entirely reliant on cash in their daily lives, with the elderly, vulnerable and those in rural communities likely to be hardest hit by a decline.
And research from the consumer group Which? this week found that fees of at least 95p per withdrawal had been imposed on nearly 1,700 cash points between January and March.
The Treasury said the plans will complement work to support digital payment methods which continue to revolutionise and expand the ways people manage their money.
Gallery: Everyday UK coins and notes worth a small fortune (Lovemoney)
“Technology has transformed banking for millions of people, making it easier and quicker to carry out financial transactions and pay for services,” said Mr Hammond.
“But it’s also clear that many people still rely on cash and I want the public to have choice over how they spend their money.
“I’m also setting up a group which brings together the Treasury, Bank of England and the regulators to safeguard the future of cash and ensure its availability for years to come.”
Under the plans, the Treasury will establish and chair a new group to set strategy and “co-ordinate work to support nationwide access and help safeguard cash for those who need it”.
The Government said it would also:
- Support the Bank of England's work to develop a new wholesale cash distribution system to ensure cash is being distributed as needed across the country - Develop a coin checking and validation framework to remove counterfeits from circulation and stop them from ending up in people's pockets - Continue to support new digital methods of payment while safeguarding access to cash for those who need it
Natalie Ceeney, chairwoman of the Access to Cash review, which recently described the cash system as “on the verge of collapse”, said: “Cash use is falling rapidly, but digital payments don't yet work for everyone.
“We need to safeguard the use of cash for those who need it, and at the same time work hard to ensure that everyone can participate in the digital economy.
“If we sleepwalk into a cashless society, millions of people will be left behind.mo
“I’m delighted to see the Government taking a leadership role on this critical issue, and look forward to seeing action as a result.”