New 12-sided pound coin will be 'most secure in the world'
New £1 coin will help fight forgery but likely to cost £20m to change vending machines and trolleys
THE new 12-sided £1 coin will be the hardest to fake in the world, but is likely to cost the economy up to £20m in vending machine and trolley modifications.
The Treasury has said the new coin will be introduced in 2017 amid concerns about the current £1 coin's vulnerability to counterfeiting.
"After 30 years loyal service, the time is right to retire the current £1 coin, and replace it with the most secure coin in the world," said a Treasury spokesman.
The new coin is based on the design of the old three-penny piece, a 12-sided coin in circulation between 1937 and 1971.
Chancellor George Osborne tweeted an image of the coin ahead of today's Budget.
Today I will deliver a Budget for a resilient economy - starting with a resilient pound coin pic.twitter.com/Ev2IuNpXg4
— George Osborne (@George_Osborne) March 19, 2014
The Royal Mint, which believes three per cent of existing £1 coins are fake, said the move would increase public confidence in the UK's currency and ultimately reduce costs for banks and other businesses.
However, the Royal Mint's director of circulation, Andrew Mills, has said it is "a likelihood" that every vending machine will have to change to fit the coin.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Mills said the cost to the economy over the next three years for changes to vending machines and trolleys will be around £15m to £20m.
He added that it was important to look at the benefits of the coin and said that the Royal Mint will be consulting with the Automatic Vending Association and other industries to ensure the changeover runs as "smoothly as possible".
The current pound coin was introduced in 1983 as part of the phasing out of the pound note, which was withdrawn five years later.
The new coin will be bi-metallic and will incorporate state-of-the-art technology to ensure it can be authenticated at all points. While the Queen's head will be on one side of the coin, the Treasury has said there will be a public competition to decide the image on the other side.