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Money: New, smaller 50p introduced today

The 50p piece will start shrinking as of today. A new, smaller and lighter 50p coin is being introduced into general circulation and the current version will slowly disappear over the next few months. But the coin is keeping its seven-sided shape "by popular demand," said the Royal Mint.

The new version is much slimmer than the current coin. It weighs just 8 grammes - a little over half as much as the existing 13.5 gramme version - and the diameter has been reduced from 30mm to 27.3mm.

By the end of this month 350 million new 50p coins will have been issued. The old 50p coins - there are around 442 million of them - will be phased out of circulation over the coming months and the final spending deadline for them is 28 February next year.