Spend a Penny

On March 13th 2018 Philip Hammond made possibly the only sensible suggestion he has ever made while in government – to scrap the 1p and 2p coins. One day later Theresa May overruled him following hysteria in the tabloid press.


When I was around 8 or so I used to be sent to the chippy for supper sometimes. Chips were 4d (4 old pence) per portion. My mam used to tell me about when she was around my age then the standard order was a pennorth of chips and a tuppenny fish.
Nowadays a portion of chips is around 80p

Where is this going? No I am NOT talking about inflation and the good old days.

The maximum number of coins that my mam could hand over for chips was four farthings. Or she could pay with two halfpennies or one penny. By the time I was sent to the chippy the maximum number of coins I could use was eight halfpennies. Or I could pay with four pennies.
Now the maximum number of coins I can use to buy a bag of chips is eighty 1p coins. Or forty 2p coins or sixteen 5p coins, or eight 10p coins or four 20p coins. SO my mums farthing coin now equates to a 20p coin.
My younger self’s halfpenny equates to a 10p coin.

When in 1969, when they got rid of the half penny beer was around 2/- a pint. That was 24 of the lowest value currency. A pint now, at about £3.50, is :-

  • 350 of the lowest value currency (1p)
  • 175 of the second lowest (2p)
  • 70 of the third lowest (5p) or
  • 35 of the fourth lowest (10p)

A 1969 lowest value coin, the old penny was worth more than a current day 10p coin. It is really closer to a 20p coin. (Interestingly in most paying loos nowadays it does actually cost 20p to “spend a penny”)

Coins under 10p in value are just dross and virtually worthless for every day spending. It is long past time we were rid of them.
Lets say we ditch everything under 10p. We will see a REDUCTION in prices! Most retailers assume their customers are stupid, and that they can’t see that 99p is not much different to a £1. If they could not charge 99p, because they could not give change, then have the choice of charging 90p or £1. Most will go for 90p – a 9% reduction in price.
Those that opt to go to £1 will generate a 1% increase in price.

A clean up of our currency is needed. Pennies, two p’s, five pence pieces, and even ten pence pieces are just shrapnel in our pockets.