History and nostalgia should not prevent the UK moving forward as numerous other countries have done when their lowest denominations became almost irrelevant in today’s economy.
Those against removing the penny and two pence are mainly concerned about price rises or just want to keep things the way they are but these arguments are not enough to make up for the fact that these coins are barely used in transactions but are costing the government millions to produce.
Under the Freedom of Information Act, The Royal Mint does not release details of the cost of producing individual coins as it could prejudice its commercial interests but in Canada, pennies used to cost more to manufacture than they are worth, and this was an obvious reason to remove them.
Not only should people be convinced by the money saved but the mining and transportation involved in the process also means unnecessary harm is inflicted on the environment. In many reports from the Treasury, it is estimated that six out of ten pennies are used once and then stored away in jars or in some cases even thrown into the bin.
Charities may be worried about a lack of spare change donations but if shops were not able to accept them anymore, if they were to be scrapped, this could lead to more pennies being given to charity in the short term. Coin collection is the least effective collection method regardless; charities are benefited much more by regular donations.
However, if there were no longer 1p and 2p coins, people may be more inclined to give 5ps and 10ps instead and the move could actually raise the amount of money donated to charity in the long run.
As seen in other countries which have removed their pennies, prices in shops do not actually have to change. Customers paying on card will still pay the exact amount and it is only the total bill that will be affected, not each item when paying with cash.
The previous Chancellor, George Osbourne, came close to withdrawing the coins in 2015, but the idea was blocked by then Prime Minister, David Cameron, because of fears that the public would be unhappy with the loss of symbolism.
Public image and fear of change should not stand in the way of following other countries’ positive example in moving forward.