Government offers reassurance that pennies are here to stay

Katie Morley
Around 8 per cent of coppers are thrown in the bin, according to the Treasury - PA/PA Photos

The Government has said it will not scrap 1p and 2p coins, following a major outcry from MPs, the charity sector and members of the public. 

The possibility of scrapping coppers was proposed by the Treasury on Tuesday as Phillip Hammond's Spring Statement saw the launch of a consultation on the future of cash and digital payments.

According to the consultation document around 8 per cent of coppers are thrown in the bin.

However the suggestion was met with outrage over fears that it could hurt charities, small businesses and arcades, who rely on people spending their spare change. 

Sir John Low, chief executive of the Charities Aid Foundation, said: "Cash is still by far the most common way people donate to charity, so the forecast in HM Treasury’s consultation document on cash and digital payments, suggesting that cash transactions will more than halve from 12 billion transactions a year to 5.8 billion between 2016 and 2026, could have a real impact on charities if people carry less cash to give away.

A piggy bank on a pile of copper coins Credit: PA

"A consultation on cash is a good opportunity for government and charities to work together to embrace new technologies and ensure the decline of cash doesn’t get in the way of people’s desire to be generous."

Labour MP for Ilford North, Wes Streeting, said: “After eight years of the Tories, working people have fewer pounds in their pocket.

“That’s not enough for this penny pincher Chancellor — he wants to take away people’s one and two pennies too. He should leave well alone and focus on getting the economy back on track.”

But yesterday a Downing Street spokesman offered reassurance that pennies were safe.

He said:“There are no proposals to scrap one or two pence coins in the consultation that HMT issued yesterday. The call for evidence is simply intended to enable the Government to better understand the role of cash and digital payments in the new economy.

As part of the consultation £50 notes could be scrapped as they are used by criminals  Credit:  PA

“One thing the Treasury were seeking views on was whether the current denominational mix of coins meets the public’s needs and from the early reaction it looks as if it does.

“The Government welcomes all contributions to the debate and will respond fully after the call for evidence closes on June 5.”


It emerged last year that ex-Chancellor George Osborne had come close to scrapping copper pennies in 2015 but was blocked by David Cameron. Downing Street worried the “symbolism” of The Conservatives scrapping the copper coins would be a vote loser after warnings from charities that their donations would suffer.

There are more than 500 million 1p and 2p coins produced every year.

By using Yahoo you agree that Yahoo and partners may use Cookies for personalisation and other purposes