Is time spent for the penny?

Penny pic'One penny piece'Picture by Neil Silk  121705a'23/04/12
Penny pic'One penny piece'Picture by Neil Silk 121705a'23/04/12

THE debate is growing as to whether Britain should lose its penny as Scarborough voices its view.

The idea has become a national talking point, with many querying whether the coin has lost its values while others are fighting to protect the age-old currency.

Calls to abolish the penny have come about following moves by Canada, Australia and New Zealand to get rid of their low denomination coins.

The United States and Russia are also said to be considering similar action.

So should the UK follow suit?

Janet Jefferson, president of the Scarborough Chamber of Trade, said: “It would need very serious consideration.

“Getting rid of the penny would have different effects on different business. For many retailers it will mean a whole price restructure.

“After VAT went up another 2.5 per cent we now have less rounded prices, many of which would be affected if the penny ceased to exist.

“Personally I don’t have a problem with loose change, but it’s an issue we’ll discuss at the next Chamber meeting.”

Nick Sharples, bank manager at Scarborough Handelsbanken, believes the move would have a big impact on the economy. He said: “I think firstly there will be a lot of sentiment around the penny. The coin has been around for centuries, and you hear many old phrases like ‘look after the pennies and pounds will take care of themselves’.

“There is also the financial impact it will have. If you get rid of the penny retailers and service providers will take it as an opportunity to put prices up. It may only be small rises, but collectively it will equate to millions, which will have an effect on inflation.”

Colin Spink, of the Antiques and Collectables Centre in St Nicholas Cliff, believes the penny will survive at least another ten years.

He said: “We have already got rid of the half pennies so I suppose the one penny will be next.

“I don’t think the Government will allow it just yet though, there is enough going on with the economy at the minute that they need to worry about.

“Coins are very collectable though, and there is a big market for coins that have already been abolished, particularly gold and silver ones. Even the old copper coins have become collectables, and I’m sure one day the penny will go the same way. Not just yet though.”

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