Penny coins could be scrapped amid rise in contactless payments

Phillip Hammond coins

GETTYPhillip Hammond's Spring statement has also revealed potential business tax cuts

The Government will consult on whether to scrap 1p and 2p coins, along with the £50 note.

It has raised the prospect of scrapping the denominations in documents released as part of the spring statement.

It also suggests, however, there is demand from overseas for these notes, where they are saved alongside dollars and euros.

The Treasury published a "call for evidence" on the proposed changes on Tuesday, saying that now most small denomination coins are only used once before being put in piggy banks or thrown away. Cash was used for 7.2 billion transactions of under £1 in 2006.

Previously, the government and the Royal Mint have needed to produce more than 500 million 1p and 2p coins each year to replace those falling out of circulation.

"The £50 note is believed to be rarely used for routine purchases and is instead held as a store of value", according to the Treasury.

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Having excess numbers of both types of cash "does not contribute to an efficient or cost effective cash cycle", the paper adds, also pointing to the need to keep "confidence in the currency".

'There is also a perception among some that £50 notes are used for money laundering, hidden economy activity, and tax evasion'.

"A lot of charities live for those pennies", said Tory MP Ian Liddell-Grainger.

"But, it's still a good idea", he posted, highlighting how there is a "global move to phase out big notes" due to fears they are mainly used illicitly.

He added: 'I think the government has got this wrong.

Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst at financial provider Hargreaves Lansdown, comments: "The writing looks to be on the wall for 1ps and 2ps".

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"On the other hand, fundraising conditions are tight, particularly at the lower end for smaller charities, where people are reliant on bucket collections and spontaneous contributions".

Aside from taking them to the bank to swap for proper cash, when was the last time you actually paid for something with some copper coins?

The 1p coin is legal tender for amounts up to 20p, so it is not permitted to pay debts with a sack full of pennies.

Australia, Canada and Switzerland removed their lowest denomination coins after inflation ate into their value.

60 per cent of coppers are used only once before never being used again.

In one in 12 of these cases, the coins are thrown in the bin.

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