Good old British inertia and vague nostalgia has meant that nothing’s been done about the obvious fact that we have coins of little and diminishing value in circulation which ought logically to be withdrawn. While you may experience understandable irritation from the collections of coppers we all accumulate, think for a moment about the wider costs to the taxpayer from continuing with these little beggars.
There’s the cost to the state of purchasing the materials which go into the coins, which is not insignificant; famously, in the USA the materials used to make a penny cost more than a penny, and the same problem has led to Canada eliminating the penny this month.
There’s not only the cost of purchasing the materials and then preparing and minting the coins; there's also the costs of transporting and introducing them into circulation, and withdrawing them when they’re worn.
Just as they clutter up tills, the coppers also weigh down security vans and the banking system; they add disproportionately to the burden of every stage of the circulation process. Some of this is naturally offset by the decision taken by many machine vendors, such as Transport for London, to disallow the use of coppers in their machines. But then, what does that tell you about their (lack of) usefulness?
Before the typically British kneejerk rejection of a new idea forms in your mind, think for a moment: what do you actually use coppers for? Whilst plenty of creative answers can be suggested, “buying things” is unlikely to be one of them.