In announcing spending cuts, the like of which has never been seen before, no stone has been left unturned in the government’s pursuit of savings. From health, to education, defence to the arts. The list goes on – benefits, the police and prisons, local government, defence, higher education, sport and transport. You could run from the review as far as you liked but there’s been nowhere to hide.
£83bn of public spending cuts delivered on a plate in the name of economic salvation.
Big money savings
Here are a couple of unlikely victims of the new age of austerity. The humble 5p and 10p coin.
In a move that is projected to save up to £10 million a year the Goverment’s Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) has identified the copper component in coins as unnecessary and ear marked it for the chop from next April.
With the price of copper volatile and driven high by demand from India and China the plan is that in the future instead of a cupro-nickel combination coins will be made using cheap steel with a nickel plating cover.
Big money implications
Whether the cost implications have been thought through properly or not is unclear. Despite the new coins being cheaper to produce and longer lasting there are likely to be knock on effects for vending machine operators and organisations responsible for other coin operated machines such as parking meters.
11% thicker than the old coins, with a size increase from 1.7mm in depth to 1.9mm, though these new dimensions won’t affect the efficiency of coin counting machines, the new coins will not be recognised by meters, public phones and vending machines.
A spokesman for the Royal Mint (itself under threat of being sold to raise funds) told the press that officials were working with vending machine operators to minimise disruption. ‘Disruption’ that some vending industry experts estimate could end up costing the industry up to £100 million.
When it comes to parking meters then the responsibility for making sure that they work properly comes down firmly on the shoulders of local authorities. With more that 400,000 parking meters in operation around the country all of which will require modification to take the new style coins, the cost to council tax payers could be enormous.