After some reflection, the UK has announced that they are keeping calm and their copper coins "for years to come". The announcement comes a year after the UK Treasury called for evidence on the use of cash having proposed plans to cull copper coins from the UK’s payments landscape.
Luckily, the overwhelming support from charities, newspapers, consumer rights bodies and most importantly, the public themselves, the British treasury have listened and are now making a point to celebrate their financially inclusive decision: Keeping cash.
"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."
Chancellor Hammond specifically mentioned the 1 and 2p coins as well as the $£50 note, the largest and smallest denominations came under threat after last year’s call for evidence on cash use which proposed the phasing out and altogether elimination these thought-to-be infrequently used notes and coins.
The Government published an action plan, committing to act on the Access to Cash Review, which calls for government action, regulators and industry to ensure that cash access and acceptance is maintained in the UK.
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The move comes as the Treasury publishes its response to the cash and digital payments call for evidence. The findings show that while the use of cash has declined in recent years, with a rise in digital payment methods, it remains a dominant form of paying for goods for many people across the country.
"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."
It is estimated that around 2.2 million people in the UK are still reliant on cash, with the elderly, vulnerable and those in rural communities likely to be hardest hit by a decline.
To make sure cash continues to be available to those who need it, the Government will:
- establish the new Joint Authorities Cash Strategy Group (JACS) to provide comprehensive oversight of the UK’s cash system
- 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 new coin checking and validation framework to remove counterfeits from circulation and stop them from ending up in people’s pockets
- reiterate that there are no plans to alter the make-up of coins or notes and that current cash denominations will continue in its current form