Production of £2 and 2p coins to stop for a decade

No new 2p or £2 coins are to be produced for at least a decade, The Royal Mint has confirmed, following a slump in cash use as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Royal Mint, which has been producing coins in the UK for more than 1,100 years, suggested a sharp decline in demand had left the coin maker with a mountain of stock.

The maker has stocks that are 26 times over its target for £2 coins, and eight times over its target for 2p coins.

In June, UK Finance revealed that card and contactless payments had accounted for over half (51%) of all payments during 2019, the first time that card payments had seen a majority. The same report showed the volume of cash payments had continued to decline and that in 2019, the total of payments with cash had fallen by 15%.

A report today from the National Audit Office (NAO) has revealed that 10 years ago, cash was used in six out of 10 transactions but by 2019, it was used in less than three in 10 transactions.

The NAO also stated that the outbreak of COVID-19 “may have accelerated this trend”, with data suggesting that demand for notes and coins declined by 71% between early March and the middle of April during lockdown. The NAO added that demand has since been recovering.

Commenting on The Royal Mint’s announcement, Starling Bank CEO and founder, Anne Boden, said: “As the crisis has sped up the shift to digital and the decline in cash, there’s huge scope to do more to share the benefits of digital technology more widely across society.”

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