At the last budget the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced the introduction of a new £1 coin in 2017. The coin will be modelled on the old Threepenny bit and those of a “certain age” will probably welcome this nostalgic touch.
However, new coins are not always welcome. The government said it would hold a detailed consultation on the impact of the change on businesses, which may face costs from having to change vending machines, supermarket trolleys and lockers at gyms and leisure centres.
Some commentators have raised fears the new piece will not work smoothly in vending machines but the Royal Mint said the coin “will be expressly designed to fit existing mechanisms”.
Although it may fit an existing mechanism, the mechanism still needs to be updated to the characteristics of the new coin. Not only is there a cost attached to changing and updating the coin mechanisms in vending machines, but also the question of timing of changes; particularly during the change-over period when both coins are commonly in use.
Looking forward to 2017, could that cost and disruption be better spent by installing a cashless system and removing those coin mechanisms for good?