UK to introduce a new £1 coin in 2017 to combat forgery
Chancellor George Osborne today announced to the Commons that the Royal Mint would be putting a newly designed £1 coin into circulation by 2017.
The announcement was made as part of Osborne’s budget statement, in which he said: “The prerequisite of sound money is a sound currency… So I can announce that we will move to a new, highly secure, £1 coin.”
The move has been triggered by a spate of forgeries, with an estimated 3% of every £1 coin thought to be a fake. “One in 30 pound coins is counterfeit, and that costs businesses and the taxpayer millions each year,” claimed Osborne.
The new design will be 12-sided, similar to the old threepenny bit, which Osborne said was “in honour of our Queen,” as the latter was one of the first coins she appeared on.
The current £1 coin has been in circulation for nearly 30 years. Its replacement will make use of new technologies to allow for “[authentication] via high-speed automated detection at all points within the cash cycle,” according to a government statement, which will help prevent forgeries.
The current £1 coin is extremely widely used in vending machines, shopping trolleys and the like, so replacing the coin will be costly, with Andrew Mill’s of the Royal Mint telling BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Over the three years before production it will probably cost between £15-20 million to the economy as a whole.”