Preparing for new £1 coin costs councils and firms thousands

The fun fair at Clarence Pier in Southsea.  Picture: Sarah Standing (160944-6733) PPP-160725-173455001
The fun fair at Clarence Pier in Southsea. Picture: Sarah Standing (160944-6733) PPP-160725-173455001
Mutiny Festival brought over �2m to the local economy Picture: Paul Windsor

Mutiny Festival brings £2.7m into Portsmouth economy

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BUSINESSES and councils have been forced to fork out thousands of pounds in preparation for the introduction of the new £1 coin.

Engineers have been busy modifying pay machines before the coin comes into circulation on Monday.

The new �1 coin will come into circulation at the end of March. All existing �1 coins must be spent or banked by October 31. CAPTION: The new �1 coin will come into circulation at the end of March PPP-170220-154602001

The new �1 coin will come into circulation at the end of March. All existing �1 coins must be spent or banked by October 31. CAPTION: The new �1 coin will come into circulation at the end of March PPP-170220-154602001

Clarence Pier owners Jimmy and Jill Norman said they had spent about £10,000 to update their arcade machines.

Mr Norman said: ‘We’ve had all of our machines modified and engineers have been in over the winter, so when it lands we should be ready.

‘We won’t really know how it will affect us until it lands in our laps.

‘It is a cost that should just be absorbed. It is not ideal but it just has to be done.’

The government said the new coin is being introduced because the current one has become vulnerable to counterfeiters.

Mr Norman said he would welcome financial help from the government to pay for the upgrades, such as in the form of tax relief.

He added: ‘Only time will tell if the coin will be better.

‘Criminals seem to find a new way of counterfeiting everything these days.’

Councils in the area have had to modify their parking machines before the new coin comes in.

Portsmouth City Council said it spent £1,267 on 312 machines. Fareham spent £3,260.25 on upgrading 29 machines, and Gosport spent £144 to convert 37 machines.

But Havant’s council said its new parking meters installed last year were already configured for the new coin, so no further costs or changes were needed.

The Royal Mint say the new coin will be thinner, lighter but slightly larger.

Businesses will stop accepting the current coin after October 15, although they can still be exchanged at some banks.

Neil Eames is the Federation of Small Business’ development manager for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Mr Eames said: ‘The new £1 coin is likely to affect a significant number of our local businesses across a range of sectors that handle cash, and especially those that use automated machines.

‘Direct costs will vary depending upon number of items affected and whether simple upgrades are possible.

‘It is vital that the Royal Mint and government raise as much awareness as possible of how small firms can manage the switch.’