Look after the pennies

copper coins
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The 2p coin may be a small denomination, but the role it plays in UK society is a big one, argues Sam Spencer.

When the Bank of England put its first coin in the jar in 1694, it began Great Britain’s journey to become one of the largest, richest, and most powerful empires in the world. Almost 400 years later, and so many more journeys have begun with the clink of that first penny.

Every homeless person’s day starts with that first penny, every charitable collection, and every waiter’s tip. For working class families, pocket-money comes in the form of pennies leftover from the weekly shop.The 1p and 2p are the first idea of finance for many of Britain’s young people, along with the age-old saying “look after the pennies, and the pounds will look after themselves” – a banker’s motto if ever there was one.

However, while the Bank of England appears to have forgotten its humble beginnings,it must not forget the great value of small coins to the little guy. If the 1p and 2p are scrapped, the price of ‘saving’ that first penny will increase 500 percent, with 5p becoming the new starting point. And while it will become harder to save, it will also become harder to spend – as prices will increase initially, even if only by a few percent. But that’s a few more percent that will end up in the pockets of big business, and not in the dream-filled jars of those just starting out.

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