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£50m in spare change could go to charities

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Lower denomination coins aren't being spent

An estimated £50m in loose change is being hoarded by the British public.

Nearly six in 10 people are holding coins at home, according to a survey by banking trade body UK Finance and has urged folk to consider donating to charities.

UK Finance data suggests that people have been holding on to cash three times longer than they used to owing, in part, to the coronavirus lockdowns.

Adrian Buckle, head of research at UK Finance, said that when people received a high-value coin in change, such as a £1 or £2 coin, they tended to carry it with them and spend it.

However, when it came to a low-value coin, "seven out of 10 of us will drop it in a pot at home and we forget about them".

With those coins disappearing from circulation, more had to be manufactured to replace them, with the cost reaching £50m last year, he said.

The stash of low-value coins in people's homes still showed little chance of being spent in the next two or three months, the report suggested.

Among the 1,000 people surveyed, most tended to hoard cash primarily for security, but also to pay friends and neighbours for shopping, for gifts and for pocket money.

Although the amounts held tended to be below £100, this could have an impact on the way cash flowed around the economy, the report said.

The Charities Aid Foundation found that more than half the charities they spoke to last year had seen a drop in donations. That coincided with four in 10 charities reporting increased demand for help from those in need. 

"Cash donations to charities, normally the country's most popular way of giving, saw a substantial decline during 2020 and remain at very low levels compared to previous years," said Neil Heslop, chief executive of the Charities Aid Foundation.

"As charities struggle to resume fundraising, while continuing to work on the frontlines of the response to the pandemic, donating spare loose change would be a huge show of much-needed support at a critical time."

Eric Leenders, managing director of personal finance at UK Finance said:  "Putting your pennies in a charity box is a great way to help those in need."