Treasury 'should foot coin change bill'

Ten pence piece and a five pence piece The cost of making the 'silver' coins has risen as copper prices have increased

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The Treasury should pay the £5.5m bill that councils face for altering parking meters to accept new coins, the Local Government Association has said.

From January, 5p and 10p coins are set to be minted using steel instead of copper and will be 11% thicker.

The Local Government Association, which covers England and Wales, says the cost is an extra burden on councils.

The Treasury said the new coins were cheaper to make and the move would save taxpayers money.

The LGA also called for an urgent decision on whether changes will be made to the £1 coin, to ensure councils do not face the expense for a second time.

Councillor Peter Box, chairman of the Association's economy and transport board, said: "The cost and effort of updating parking machines is an extra burden they could do without. This is cash which could be spent on filling potholes or concessionary bus travel for the elderly."

"It's understandable why the Treasury is changing these coins, but with such huge savings predicted surely it should pick up the tab for machine upgrades rather than force councils to divert money away from people who really need it."

The LGA said different councils would face different bills, with Wakefield facing £22,720 on 92 machines, Leicester £18,000 on 200 machines and Watford £13,500 on 56 machines.

Vending machines

The coins are currently made from the nickel and copper alloy cupro-nickel.

The Treasury plans to make the new coins from nickel-plated steel instead of the alloy, which has become more expensive as the price of copper has risen in recent years.

Last year, vending machine companies warned that the plans could cost the industry £100m in recalibrating machines to recognise both the old and new coins.

The Treasury said many countries, such as Canada, New Zealand and Russia, have already moved towards lower-cost coinage as a way of reducing spending.

A spokesman said the government had consulted before deciding on the change and the introduction of the new coins had been delayed to allow industry - including local councils - time to prepare.

"We also anticipate it will take many months for the new coins to reach significant circulation levels, giving extra time to adapt or replace machines and substantially reduce costs," he said.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 44.


    1. Give FREE council parking, after all, we're already paying council tax!

    2. Pay by SMS

    3. Pay by Contactless Card

    2 & 3 No need to update any machine, most car park machines accept plastic already, lots of places are updating to contactless cards now

    We were supposed to have a paperless office and cashless society YEARS ago, we don't seem to have managed either of these targets.

  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    Money making spin from local councils. How much does it actually cost to run a car park per annum? It doesn't cost much at all.They're unattended and the new TW's slap tickets out left right and centre to accumulate money for council coffers. They make huge amounts of profit for actually doing vey little. They now have the audacity to complain that coins in usage won't work in their machines!

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    This it typical of the government and has been for years. They make a change to something claiming it helps taxpayers and then completely fail to investigate the 'knock on' effect of those changes and how it balances out the costs and benefits involved. There are a lot of technical issues in this project and the machines will need to be altered twice if you think about it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    I don't know why we still have money anymore and just use a charge card system. We could have something like an oyster card but you can top it up still from a cashpoint. You could set a limit on the card so if it gets stolen, they wouldn't be able to get anymore money out of your account. If you needed to make a larger purchase, you could make a one off alteration to the limit or use a credit card

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    It's not just councils, it's vending machine owners, amusement arcades, lockers, travel ticket machines and automatic coin counters at supermarkets to name some of the industries which will effected. How much will this cost these businesses??


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