Treasury Minister Dr Alex Allinson says he will work with banks and businesses to help with cash handling if a plan for low-value coins goes ahead.

The change would see pennies and two- and five-pence coins removed from circulation and bills paid in cash rounded up or down depending on the total.

The Manx Government recently started a consultation into this move, which people can answer until June 28.

Dr Allinson said: ‘The reason for doing this is very much that they’re not used very often and we haven’t had to mint any of them since 2016.

‘We think there’s more than 70 million of them floating around, either in people’s pockets, in piggybanks or down the back of the sofa.

‘We’ve heard, anecdotally, from businesses that the cost of dealing with small change, and the cost to the banks of banking it and storing it, is becoming more and more expensive.’

He also said that there had been a lot of calls from the banking sector for this change.

The Treasury Minister and Ramsey MHK said: ‘I think we saw that a few years ago when there were suggestions that banks might charge charities for bank accounts.

‘A lot of that was about actually having to process buckets for the small change that were rattled and having to process the proceeds of charitable donations because it is quite time-consuming for the banks to have to deal with all this.

‘Increasingly, people don’t have small change in their pockets. They’re using electronic purchases. If you walk down strand street now that doesn’t buskers will have some machines.

‘If you go to a church service, you can tap her a contribution on the way out.’

Should it go ahead, this move could have implications for tourists who come over from the UK with cash and cannot spend it.

In a statement, Dr Allinson referred to other countries that have done this, such as Canada and the parts of the Eurozone.

In Ireland’s plan, there was a trial period in the town of Wexford before the legislation was changed.

Dr Allinson said: ‘I think that the island is such a relatively small place with a small population that we would probably bring it in across the board otherwise it would be confusing. We would also work with all the users of cash to ensure that if we did bring this withdrawal of the small value coins in, it was managed in the best way possible with the right amount of information and support.’

The consultation is available online or from government offices.

Read a previous story about this matter here.