It’ll cost a Mint!

Listening to the lunchtime news today on the radio and there is an announcement that as part of the spending review the Coalition has decided that the Royal Mint will have to use cheaper metal for the coins of our realm.

Starting off with the 5p and 10p but how long before the rest follow?

There’s still no joined up thinking in Government. While they may save money on the costs of the metal they will use, what about all the machines that will have to be changed to cope with the new coinage. Just off the top of my head.

Parking meters and pay and display machines

Automatic ticket machines

Vending machines

Machines that convert your loose change into notes

Slot machines

Arcade games machines

The list goes on. Does anyone ever, anywhere, think these things through and realise how much this is going to cost us.

Just thought of some more while writing this. If they’re going to change the £1 coin eventually what about all the supermarket trolleys that take a pound coin. And what about the self service checkout at the supermarket where you can pay in cash but also can get change if paying with a note. All of them will need adjusting.

Even the machines in the banks that weigh the coins in bags will have to be adjusted.  And I have no doubt you can think of more. If I can come up with this lot is less than 10 minutes where are the brain cells in the Treasury?

Probably out for lunch.


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9 comments for “It’ll cost a Mint!

  1. dearieme
    October 21, 2010 at 13:58

    “Starting off with the 5p and 10p but how long before the rest follow?” Why do we bother with the small value coins in “the rest”? Surely we should abolish the 1p and 2p and use rounding. It works well in NZ. Perhaps the 5p too.

  2. fake
    October 21, 2010 at 14:34

    Ah, but the lefties will call this “job creation” for all the vending machine etc makers.

  3. Patrick Harris
    October 21, 2010 at 16:04

    How close will the changes conform to the Euro coinage?
    2 and 1 Euro = Bi coloured – £2 coin almost there.
    50c, 20c and 10c = Nordic gold (a recently manufactured alloy).
    1c, 2c and 5c = copper covered steel.

  4. October 21, 2010 at 17:38

    The cost of adapting cash handling equipment is not the problem. I can foresee a boom in counterfeiting to the point that it will be easier and cheaper to abolish a debased coinage completely, which is something that has been suggested before.

    Link that possibility to the recent suggestion that we should all be paid by HM Customs and Revenue, and not those we work for, and add the fears expressed by opponents to ID cards that the card and its database will be used to regulate personal banking and all financial transactions and the possibilities for unlimited control of every aspect of our lives become apparent.

    Early mediaeval kings were given to debasing the coinage from time to time, in order to ‘save’ on it. As far as I am aware it always resulted in the coinage eventually becoming so debased that it was worthless, which necessitated its complete withdrawal and replacement. That was relatively easy to do since, if I recall correctly, the only coin in use was the silver penny and relatively few people had them in any significant quantity. It was necessary only to take one’s purse of silver to the local monyer to exchange them for the new coins, so the process wasn’t too disruptive. The practice of blinding, maiming and otherwise mutilating those who struck counterfeit coins, or coins that had been debased without the authority of the king, also tended to the maintenance of a sound coinage, although, as always, some were tempted. No such deterrent exists now and the social and economic chaos that widespread counterfeiting might cause could be catastrophic. It would be much easier to get rid of coins altogether and, although the banks thereby save the not inconsiderable cost of handling them, I doubt that cost cutting is the motive.


  5. Rossa
    October 21, 2010 at 18:47

    From what I understand of the process of inflating a currency there are those that say that the Dollar has been reduced to only 2.5% of its purchasing power 100 years ago. i.e. a dollar today will only buy what 2.5c bought at the turn of the 20th century.

    If you applied that to our own currency then effectively our pound is really only worth 2.5p or 6d, so yes William, it’s ain’t worth anything so maybe we should be rid of it. Mind you that means a £5 note is only worth just over an old shilling!

    Zimbabwe anyone?

    Patrick also has a valid point as our coinage will gradually converge with the Eurozone. I attended a seminar by the Office of Fair Trading about 5 years ago and in a private conversation with the presenter was told that once the pound was on a par with Euro we would be bounced into it by the “what difference does it make whether it is one pound or one euro, they’re both worth the same” argument.

    He also said that he had heard that another scheme was to destroy our pensions scheme to bring us in line with the rest of the EU. Now that has been more than successful hasn’t it? I would say it is probably better to be a pensioner now in the EU than it is in the UK.

  6. October 21, 2010 at 20:40

    I wondered when I made the comment whether I’d made myself clear.

  7. Patrick Harris
    October 21, 2010 at 20:48

    What did you conclude?

  8. JD
    October 21, 2010 at 22:07

    I read this a few weeks ago and it suggested that the new coins, being a steel alloy, would be magnetic. That will really bugger up all the machines.

  9. October 22, 2010 at 02:34

    Patrick Harris: What could I conclude from the evidence?

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