People power saves the penny!

calendar iconMar 29, 2018


The UK Government has decided against pulling the penny thanks to the power of the public. #SaveThePenny

The plan to scrap 1p and 2p coins was subtly presented by the Treasury through a call for evidence on the role of cash and digital payments in the new economy on March 13th, 2018. The paper also challenges the necessity for the highest denomination banknote, the fifty-pound note. 

“One thing HMT were seeking views on was whether the current denominational mix of coins meets the public’s needs. From the early reaction, it looks as if it does.” - Downing Street spokesperson

 Save the penny campaign

'Mrs May moved quickly to kill off a row over the future status of the two lowest denomination coins on Wednesday in the face of a snowballing “save the penny campaign” spearheaded by the tabloid press,' reports the Financial Times.

Concern for charities, particularly small ones that rely on collection buckets, may have been an important factor in the fight for the copper coinage. According to The Charity Finance Group, UK charities are able to raise 'millions of pounds worth of coppers every year.'

“If they remove the opportunity for people to give their pennies in the traditional way, they’re raising the cost of fundraising for small charities.”
"Mandy JohnsonChief Executive at Small Charities CoalitionAs quoted by The Guardian

But will this be the last time a copper coin cull is threatened?

Only time will tell. But, it is definitely not the first. Last year, George Osborne almost announced a plan for scrapping the pennies before the Prime Minister of the time, David Cameron - who feared the symbolism of the Conservative party scrapping the penny - stopped the controversial move. 

Excerpt from The Guardian article

This prompted some newspapers to herald the demise of copper coinage, warning about the associated impact on penny sweets and the cascade machines in seaside amusement arcades. Wednesday’s Daily Mail front page called it “a PR disaster in the making”, the front of the Sun said, “Save our coppers,” and the Daily Mirror lamented: “Pennies dropped.”

The charity sector had warned that scrapping the coins would damage smaller organisations that rely on bucket collections for the majority of their funding. The Charity Finance Group said UK charities collected millions of pounds’ worth of coppers every year. “It is a concern,” said Andrew O’Brien, the director of policy at CFG. “On the one hand, we don’t want the charity sector to be accused of being luddites.

Read the full article here


Walker, Peter and Angela Monaghan. 'No plans to scrap 1p and 2p coins, Downing Street says'.The Guardian. Published March 14, 2018. Accessed 22 March 2018.

Related articles

Cash Matters UK government calls for evidence on the role of cash and digital payments
On March 13th, 2018, the United Kingdom's ministry of economics and finance announced a call for evidence on the role of cash and digital payments in the new economy via an open consultation to  ensure that the 'economy is fit for the future and keeps pace with changes in the ways that people pay for goods and services'. 

Financial Times Theresa May gives copper-bottomed promise on pennies
UK prime minister Theresa May has intervened to save Britain’s 1p and 2p copper coins, following claims that removing them from circulation would “trash 1,000 years of history” and represent a capitulation to inflation.

The Guardian Keep the pennies – they are worth millions of pounds, charities say
Scrapping 1p and 2p coins would damage smaller charities that rely on traditional bucket collections for the majority of their funding, the sector has warned.

Cash Matters South Korea's Coinless Experiment
Starting 20th April 2017, South Korea will be experimenting with a nation-wide 'coinless trial'. Customers will have the option of depositing their small change into prepaid cards directly. Prepaid cards include transportation cards, bank cards or mobile payment accounts. 

The Guardian George Osborne came within weeks of scrapping the penny
George Osborne came within weeks of announcing plans to take 1p and 2p pieces out of circulation but was stopped by David Cameron who feared the symbolism of the Conservative party scrapping the penny, the Guardian has been told. 

Last Updated: May 22, 2018