Whilst most of us would shed no tears if the 1p and/or 2p bronze coins were discontinued there are industries where adapting vending machines or pricing structures to eliminate 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8 or 9p prices would be problematic.
For example, the 2p amusement games that litter arcades at sea-side resorts would require a complete re-think if the 2p coins disappeared.
And so, if the industry you work in is similarly tied to the bronze coins, then the formal announcement issued by HM Treasury on 3 May will be reassuring. They said:
The future of cash will be protected under plans set out today (Friday 3 May), which will ensure the British public continues to have choice over how they spend their money.
The Chancellor, Philip Hammond, will announce plans to help safeguard access to cash by establishing a new group chaired by the Treasury. Bringing together regulators and the Bank of England, the group will set strategy, coordinate work to support nationwide access and help safeguard cash for those who need it.
The announcement will be made during the Verdict of the Pyx ceremony in London, part of a longstanding coin-checking custom dating back to the 12th Century. During his speech the Chancellor will also reiterate that there will be no changes to current coins and notes, with all denominations – from the penny to the £50 note – staying in circulation.
This will complement work to support digital payment methods – including on broadband coverage and open banking – which continue to revolutionise and expand the ways people manage their money.
Natalie Ceeney CBE, Chair of the Access to Cash review, responded and 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. I’m delighted to see the Government taking a leadership role on this critical issue – and look forward to seeing action as a result.
Although there is precious little that can be purchased for 1p these days, if the 1p coin disappeared, a price of 3p, 7p and 9p would also fade from view. Perish the thought…