The Royal Mint will not produce any new £2 or 2p coins for at least a decade, as its stocks remain high because of the slump in use of cash, a trend that has accelerated during the coronavirus pandemic.
The rapid decline in demand for coins has left the Mint, which has been producing coins in Britain for more than 1,000 years, with a mountain of excess stock.
It reported in March 2020 that it had stocks of £2 coins 26 times over its target, and was eight times over target for 2p coins.
The fall in the use of cash has been detailed by a report from the National Audit Office (NAO), which monitors the effectiveness of public bodies.
A decade ago, cash was used in six out of 10 transactions, but by 2019 that had fallen to less than three in 10, and some forecasts suggest it may
Ministers are considering a half-term lockdown as they scramble for a plan to stem rising infection rates.
Boris Johnson has been told that he has little more than a week to find a plan B if the “rule of six” does not bring the epidemic under control. He has accepted advice from the chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, that rising case numbers must be reversed in the coming weeks but has not decided how to do this.
Matt Hancock, the health secretary, this morning refused to rule out a second national lockdown, saying that it was “the last line of defence” but one that was proven to work.
The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies is understood to have modelled a two-week “circuit breaker” lockdown to break chains of infection and prevent a return to rapid exponential growth.
It came as further restrictions are due to be announced across the North
Travel and leisure companies bore the brunt of the first lockdown, with many starved of income for months. Investors, wary of a repeat, were quick to ditch airlines, pubs groups and restaurant owners this morning.
IAG, the British Airways owner, dropped 12¾p, or 9.9 per cent, to 116¾p; shares in Restaurant Group, Wagamama’s parent, fell 3½p, or 6.2 per cent, to 52½p; and JD Wetherspoon, the no-frills pub chain, was marked down 39p, or 4.5 per cent, to 822½p.
Next has agreed a deal that will resurrect Victoria’s Secret UK and save 500 jobs.
The fashion-to-homeware retailer is to take a majority 51% stake in a joint venture with US-owned Victoria’s Secret after the lingerie firm’s UK arm was placed in administration in June following weak coronavirus lockdown trading that forced all non-essential stores to shut.
L Brands, the company behind Victoria’s Secret, agreed the deal following a bid process led by administrators which attracted interest from dozens of parties including M&S.