Householders told to pick up the tab for bigger coinage

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COUNCILLORS have agreed to spend £50,000 modifying parking ticket machines to cope with bigger coins.

The Royal Mint will introduce the new 5p and 10p pieces in January.

They are about 11 per cent thicker than the existing coins and magnetic.

The change will also affect vending machines, gaming machines, coin operated telephones and other ticket machines.

Calderdale Council Cabinet was told that 215 parking ticket machines would need to be adapted - a job which would take up to four weeks to complete.

After it was done the machines would continue to accept the old coins but there be no alterations to allow the machines to give change.

It was necessary to get the order for the work in now because the sole supplier is expected to be inundated with requests, according to the council’s head of highways and engineering, Dave Tee.

“If we did nothing, the existing machines would reject the new coinage resulting in a lot of frustration among users so the council has little option but to goahead and adapt them,” he said in a report to the cabinet.

The Treasury expects the changes to the coinage to save the Government up to £8 million a year in reduced expenditure on metals but the likely cost to the vending industry has been estimated at up to £40 million.

Patrick Troy, chief executive of the British Parking Association, which represents 350 local authorities, said his members could face a bill of £15 million for altering machines.