Britain’s 2 pence coin is safe. The Treasury has ensured the coin’s role in everyday currency and in so doing handed a lifeline to the quintessential symbol of seaside traditions – the pusher machine.
The long-term future of the pusher has been saved after the government confirmed it is abandoning plans to get rid of the 2p coin.
Last weekend the Treasury announced that 1p and 2p coins would remain in circulation, while a new, more secure £50 printed on polymer will also be introduced.
The news will come as a relief to all seaside amusements operators, who earlier in the year had cause to fear the worst for one of the most popular types of machine in any arcade.
The Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, Robert Jenrick, said: “Our coins and notes are respected and recognised the world over and are a key part of the UK’s heritage and identity.
“People should have as much choice as possible when it comes to their money and we’re making sure that cash is here to stay.
“Our money needs to be secure and this new note will help prevent crime.This modern £50 note follows the popular new pound coin, which is the most secure of its kind in the world.”
In March, the government had announced that it would launch a public consultation on the use of 1p and 2p coins and the £50 to gauge the level of demand for them.
The consultation sparked fears that it the first step in a move to remove them for circulation – a development that would have had huge implications for the seaside sector.
Amusements operators worked swiftly to communicate the huge cost of converting 2p pushers to accept 10p coins – as well as the potential loss of business from making a 2p pusher five times more expensive to play – would entail.
Speaking at the weekend, a spokesperson for the Treasury said the consultation had revealed that the public were “overwhelmingly” in favour of keeping the current mix of coins and notes.
The Treasury said that by keeping the current mix of notes and coins,it was giving people more flexibility over how they spend and manage their money, while making it harder for criminals to counterfeit the £50 note for illegal activity.
The outcome will be particularly well received by trade body Bacta which had lobbied hard for the 2 pence coin’s future. Immersing itself in a debate that kept rearing its head,and considerably so of late, the change of heart will be greeted not just by romantics, but by coastal economies around the country. The 2 pence coin has an economic value all of its own, and one finally the treasury has recognised.