‘Obsolete’ 1p and 2p coins still won’t be scrapped - here’s everything you need to know

By Rhona Shennan
Monday, 06 May, 2019, 10:26
The pennies have been marked as safe despite an unsure future (Photo: Shutterstock)

The uncertain future of 1p and 2p coins has been decided, following speculation that they may be pulled from circulation.

Getting rid of the coins would be the first step towards a cashless society, something that would not work for everyone.

Safe for years to come?

The treasury has decided that the UK will retain its copper coins for “years to come” following the currency consultation.

Despite the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, branding the coins as “obsolete” in his 2018 Spring Statement, his ruling on the matter has seen the pennies be saved.

“Technology has transformed banking for millions of people, making it easier and quicker to carry out financial transactions and pay for services,” said 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.”

What did the consultation find?

According to the UK government, about 2.2 million people are still reliant on cash - especially the elderly, vulnerable and those in rural areas of the country.

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An action plan has been published in order to safeguard those who rely on access to cash.

According to data gathered by Which?, monetary fees of at least 95p per withdrawal have been imposed on almost 1,700 ATMs between the months of January and March, sparking worries for those reliant on physical cash and their ability to access it.

Should the pennies be saved?

Our recent poll found that 59 per cent of people feel that the coppers should be scrapped, while the other 41 per cent of voters want to keep the coins.

What does this mean for the future of cash?

Spending money digitally, through card use or contactless, has dramatically risen in recent years, with cash usage subsequently declining.

According to Verdict, cash accounted for only 28.5 per cent of transactions in the UK last year. By contrast, cards were responsible for 48.9 per cent of transactions.

While the pennies have been branded safe for years to come, a cashless society is something that could be round the corner.

This article originally appeared on our sister site, The Scotsman