Vending industry complains over switch to new £1

Emma Woollacott



Retailers are complaining that they face massive bills preparing for the release of a new 12-sided one pound coin.

Businesses from parking companies to laundrettes face having to refit their machines when the new coins appear in 2017. Around 1.2 million machines around the country will be affected, costing businesses as much as £100 million.

Jonathan Hilder, CEO of the Automatic Vending Association, tells the Daily Mail that he believes the government should be doing more to help cover the cost.

And, he says, "We need a categorical assurance that there will be no upgrade of the 20p or 50p coins in the forseeable future."

The vending industry is still counting the cost of the last change to British coinage, when copper-nickel 5p and 10p pieces were replaced by nickel versions. According to the AVA, upgrading machines to deal with this cost the industry £28.3 million. And, it says, the upgrade to the £1 will cost more, thanks to the introduction of new security features.

Convenience stores, too are concerned about the new £1 coin, with coin operated machines such as photo booths and self-service tills needing to be upgraded. More than four-fifths of customers still use cash, it says.

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Bacta, which represents the amusement industry, says it will need to adapt 350,000 fruit machines and poker terminals for the new coins, at a cost of £100 million. And the British Parking Association (BPA) warns that the cost of upgrades could lead to higher parking charges.

"The biggest concern for parking providers is the cost of upgrading equipment which, ultimately, is a cost that will be passed on to the motorist," it says.

"It is estimated that the simplest software upgrade on a pay and display machine will cost in the region of £90 to £130 per machine. If the validator requires changing, this can often also require new fixing brackets for the new validator and would cost in the region of £250 to £350 per machine."

One reason for the introduction of the new coins is that they should in theory be harder to counterfeit, as they will contain luminescent particles that don't wear out over time. There are currently estimated to be as many as 45 million forged £1 coins in circulation - around half of which are convincing enough to fool vending machines.

However, the BPA is concerned that build-up of dirt on both coins and machines could cause problems.

Budget 2014: New Pound, Personal Allowance and Cheaper Pints
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