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ECONOMY

Italy mulls plan to scrap one- and two-cent coins

Italy's ruling Democratic Party on Monday unveiled a proposal to get rid of one- and two-cent coins from 2018 onwards.

Italy mulls plan to scrap one- and two-cent coins
File photo: macniak/Depositphotos

Scrapping the small change would amount to savings of €20,000 each year, said the party's Head of Innovation Sergio Boccadutri, who proposed the measure as a budgetary amendment. 

According to the MP, each one-cent coin costs 4.2 cents to manufacture, while a two-cent coin costs 5.2 cents.

Since the introduction of the euro in Italy, the mint has spent billions on creating the small denominations, which are rarely accepted in parking meters, toll booths, or vending machines – meaning they often end up forgotten in drawers or old coat pockets.

Across the eurozone, four countries have already largely stopped the production of the two lowest-value coins.

In Belgium, Finland, Ireland and the Netherlands, prices are often rounded to the nearest five cents when consumers pay with cash, though the small coins remain legal tender.

Boccadutri previously suggested introducing rounding in Italy in 2014, when he was an MP for the now-defunct Left Ecology Freedom party.

The Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Italy's parliament, voted almost unanimously in favour of the proposal, committing the country to “examine the possibility of introducing measures to reduce significantly the demand for one- and two-cent coins”. 

 

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MONEY

Italy expands €200 payment scheme and introduces public transport bonus

Italy's government will extend its proposed one-time €200 benefit to more people and introduce a €60 public transport payment, Italian media reported on Thursday.

Italy expands €200 payment scheme and introduces public transport bonus

Seasonal workers, domestic and cleaning staff, the self-employed, the unemployed and those on Italy’s ‘citizens’ income’ will be added to the categories of people in Italy eligible for a one-off €200 payment, ministers reportedly announced on Thursday evening.

The one-time bonus, announced earlier this week as part of a package of financial measures designed to offset the rising cost of living, was initially set to be for pensioners and workers on an income of less than €35,000 only.

However the government has now agreed to extend the payment to the additional groups following pressure from Italy’s labour, families, and regional affairs ministers and representatives of the Five Star Movement, according to news agency Ansa.

Pensioners and employees will reportedly receive the €200 benefit between June and July via a direct payment into their pension slip or pay packet.

For other groups, a special fund will be created at the Labour Ministry and the procedures for claiming and distributing payments detailed in an incoming decree, according to the Corriere della Sera news daily.

One new measure introduced at the cabinet meeting on Thursday is the introduction of a one-time €60 public transport bonus for students and workers earning below €35,000. The bonus is reportedly designed to encourage greater use of public transport and will take the form of an e-voucher that can be used when purchasing a bus, train or metro season pass.

Other provisions reportedly proposed in the energy and investment decree (decreto energia e investimenti), which is still being adjusted and amended, include extending energy bill discounts, cutting petrol excise duty and rolling on the deadline to claim Italy’s popular ‘superbonus 110’.

The €14 billion aid package, intended to lessen the economic impact of the war in Ukraine, will “fight the higher cost of living” and is “a temporary situation”, Prime Minister Mario Draghi has said.

The Local will report further details of the payment scheme once they become available following final approval of the decree.

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