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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 December, 2004, 03:06 GMT
Copper coins lose their shine
A quarter of Britons would happily get rid of copper coins for good, a survey suggests.

Some 5.3 million of us admit to just throwing small coins away, the survey for the Prudential says.

For those who hoard coins, a jar is the most popular place, with the north-east and Scotland putting most of their spare change in jars. More than 15 million people admit their collection of small coins is out of control.

Young people are the most likely to throw away money with 33% binning their change, compared to only 2% of 55-64 year olds, the study found.

Londoners are the most dismissive region, with 30% wanting to see the back of 1p and 2p coins, compared to Scotland and Yorkshire where only 19% would like to see them go.

It's amazing to think of the money we're just throwing away or letting lie idle
Hugh McKee
Prudential

It is suggested that more than 15 million people have accumulated more than 50 in coins.

Many of us build up a great deal more, with 6.4 million people or 17% collecting 100 or more at times.

On average people have 8.45 of loose change at any one time, while 25% have between 20 and 50 in spare coins.

Throwing

There are 10.13 billion 1p coins and 6.2 billion 2p coins in circulation, according to the Royal Mint.

"It's amazing to think of the money we're just throwing away or letting lie idle," says Hugh McKee, director of Savings and Investments at the Prudential.

"Whilst the individual sums may be small, they can still be put to good use."

The survey was carried out among 1,122 adults.

Do you think 1p and 2p coins should be phased out? Would you be sad to see them go? What do you do with your small change? Tell us what you think.


The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

Sometimes these copper coins can come in helpful at unexpected times. When I buy something at the checkout, a few can help me pay the whole cost without having to receive change from a pound. When you are asked to donate for charity, they can also be convenient rather than put in a note you may need later.
Yvonne, London

Total waste of time, weigh down your pocket.
Harry Cox, Newton Abbot

Are we that affluent a nation that we can be throwing money away? Unbelievable
Mike Kingscott, Notts

I rarely keep small change. If I'm in a shop with a charity box, it goes in there, else I put it in my back pocket until it inevitably breaks the washing machine.
Mark Tucker, Chippenham, Witshire

Absolutely not. Prices cannot be increased by less than the smallest unit of currency. If 1p and 2p coins are removed then the price of every single item you buy will be adjusted UP to the next 5p. You will soon notice the difference in your weekly shopping bill.
Paul, Milton Keynes, England

Bin 1ps and 2ps? Are these people crazy? So what if you get some change in your pocket? Surely that's better than paying 1 for something? Why not give it to charity? Most workplaces have a charity box where you can get rid of your 'shrapnel'. Shall we bin 5ps too and limit ourselves to buying products whose cost ends only with a zero? I'd like to see the inflation rate when we do that!
Chris, London

Are we that affluent a nation that we can be throwing money away? Unbelievable... incidentally, this will push the price of goods up, i.e. from 99 pence to 1, or 87 pence to 90 pence. Things will end up costing us more, as no shop will round down.
Mike Kingscott, Notts, UK

I save 1p, 2p, and 5p pieces in a 1 gallon whisky bottle. When it's full (it usually takes about 10/12 months and comes to 100 or so) it gets bagged up and I take the family out for a meal.
Dave Critchley, Barnstaple

I do not think 1p and 2p coins should be phased out. If people can afford to throw them away, then they either have too much money, or no regard for what they do have. I use them along with all other coinage. 'Look after the pennies, and the pounds will look after themselves.'
Suzy Woolston, Horley, Surrey

Anyone who thinks small denominations should be abolished is, to be frank, dumb. It would result in a increase in prices
Andy, Reading
I would like to see the back of these coins, as I too just throw them into my draw at home. However I'd hate to think that prices between 6-9pence would be rounded up, making items we buy a lot dearer.
James, Wolverhampton

This sounds sensible - all that loose change just clutters your pocket, and there's really not much point having stuff priced in anything other than 5p increments.
Simon, London, UK

With the inevitable march of inflation, it is only a matter of time before the smallest change becomes redundant and we need new larger change - bring on the 3 coin!
Richard Botley, Bridgnorth, Shropshire, UK

I tend to give it to charity - along with a few pound coins I hasten to add. Do we really need 1p and 2p - you cannot buy anything with them anymore, and all that happens, is that you get them as change i.e. spend 5.99 and get 1p in return - how useless!!
Tony, Watford

Anyone who thinks small denominations should be abolished is, to be frank, dumb. It would result in a increase in prices (no more 1.99 prices, no more 26p apples from the supermarket). After a few years the same people would moan, "what about 5 pence? - it doesn't buy anything".
Andy, Reading, UK

Do these people really want the minimum price increase on any single item to be 5p or more? PS I will accept all small coins that any of the 30% of Londoners wish to send me, keep until you have 100 worth and I will collect.
Peter Mcvay, Gateshead Tyne and Wear

Would I rather pay 31p for something or 35p? Doesn't sound much, but over a year it could amount to large sum considering this will happen in many cases and not just one product. So no, keep them!
Kev, Swansea


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