Vendors count cost of new £1 coin

 

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The Independent Online

A new, 12-sided, one pound coin will cost the vending machine industry £72.8m in labour costs, fresh mechanisms and software upgrades, according to evidence seen by The Independent.

The Automatic Vending Association (AVA), which represents most of the 420 firms that own the country’s 450,000 coffee, snack and cold-drinks machines, wants the Treasury to help pay for the necessary changes before the coin’s arrival in 2017.

Vending machine companies have already spent £28.3m upgrading their machines to accept the nickel-plated 5p and 10p coins that replaced the old copper-nickel versions. The changes to the £1 coin are more complex and costly and will include advanced security features to combat fraud: around 45 million forgeries of the current model are in circulation.

Jonathan Hilder, head of the AVA, said the industry will have spent £100m on changes to just three coins, representing a large slice of its £1.6bn annual turnover. He said: “We’ve never had any assistance; it’s always just been seen as a part of doing business.”

A Treasury consultation on the new coin, based on the old threepenny bit, ended last Friday. Its aim was to help the Government determine issues such as the size and metallic composition of the coin.

The AVA submission said labour costs alone are £107 per machine. It cites a business with 750 machines that would need to spend around £100,000 on all the changes, yet currently loses only £2,015 a year in returned, forged coins – meaning a return on the investment would take nearly half a century.

The AVA called for an assurance that no further coinage upgrades were planned.

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