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Firms urged to prepare for new 12-sided pound coin

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The new version features 12 sides (HM Treasury/PA)

The new version features 12 sides (HM Treasury/PA)

The new version features 12 sides (HM Treasury/PA)

The Treasury is urging businesses to prepare for the introduction of the new pound coin, which comes into circulation in March.

Cash-handling firms and those that operate vending machines have been directed to a website - thenewpoundcoin.com - to help guide them through the transition as part of a campaign.

The Royal Mint and the Government will take the circular 30-year-old pound coin out of circulation, with the new version featuring 12 sides.

David Gauke, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said: "The pound as we know it will not be round for much longer.

"The introduction of this new £1 coin will be a highly significant event and we are working with the Royal Mint to ensure key industries are ready and to ensure a smooth transition."

Some of the measures businesses are being advised to put in place include adapting or upgrading equipment so they are able to handle the new coin, training their staff on the features of the new £1 coin and making arrangements with their bank to return the current and new coins in separate packaging.

Adam Lawrence, chief executive of the Royal Mint, said: "We would encourage business owners to visit the website as soon as possible to find out how the new £1 coin could affect their business and what steps they need to take to prepare for the launch of the coin in March 2017."

The Government claims that the new coin will be the "most secure of its kind in the world" and will combat counterfeiters who have around 45 million counterfeit £1 coins currently in circulation.

New security features include a hologram-like image that changes from a £ symbol to the number 1 when the coin is seen from different angles.

Clive Lewis, head of enterprise at the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, said: "SMEs have already had to adapt to a number of changes, such as pensions auto enrolment and the prospect of quarterly digital tax returns, so the introduction of a new pound coin only adds to the burdens placed on small businesses' shoulders.

"The financial hit SMEs will have to take in preparing for the new pound coin will divert their attention away from running their businesses and dealing with the economic consequences of Brexit."

A Local Government Association spokesman said: "Councils have experienced substantial budget reductions and adapting parking meters is likely to be a further cost burden."

PA