Number of coins issued by Royal Mint plunged to a RECORD low of just 56m last year after Covid speeded up change in Britons’ cash habits
The number of coins put into circulation fell to a record low last year after Covid sped up changes in Britons’ habits.
Just 53million were issued in 2022-23, down from 339million in the the previous 12 months.
Under a decade ago there were routinely more than 2billion coins being added to circulation annually.
The Royal Mint’s annual accounts also show that no 1p, 2p or £2 coins were issued during the financial year.
Just 53million coins were issued in 2022-23, down from 339million in the the previous 12 months
It highlights that ‘long-term cash use continues to decline due to changes in consumer behaviour’.
‘As UK cash use declined and coin circulation reduced in 2021–22, we have continued to work with UK banks and HM Treasury to ensure that retailers consistently had access to coinage,’ the report said.
Ten years ago, cash was used in six in 10 transactions, but by 2019 it was used in fewer than three in 10.
The Bank of England has estimated that by 2021 it was being deployed in just 15 per cent, with the pandemic having a ‘permanent’ effect in moving people to contactless.
There was a ‘partial recovery’ in usage last year as the effects of lockdown receded, according to Threadneedle Street.
However, coins have been regarded as more under threat than banknotes for some time.
Surveys have suggested most 1p and 2p coins are only used once before being put in a jar or discarded.
The penny now has less purchasing power than the halfpenny when it was abolished in 1984.
Other countries including Canada and Brazil have previously jettisoned their lowest denomination coin.
However, suggestions from ministers and the BoE that small denominations could be phased out have previously triggered a backlash, with fears the move would fuel inflation and hit charities.
The Royal Mint pointed out that it continued to mint 1p and £2 coins last year, which were added to stocks but not put into circulation.
A spokeswoman said the body ‘holds stock of each coin so that we can respond quickly to demand from banks and post offices’.
The spokeswoman added that the Royal Mint ‘works closely’ with the Treasury ‘to evaluate demand and respond accordingly’.
The Royal Mint ‘s annual accounts also show that no 1p, 2p or £2 coins were issued during the financial year
The mintage for 2ps in the 2022 calendar year was zero, following production of 117,700,000 the previous year.
It was the fourth time in five years that none of the denomination had been produced.
There were also no mintages for 1p coins recorded in the years 2018 and 2019.
Around 29billion coins are in circulation across the UK.
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