"I’m not a fan of the new pound coin, but then again, I hate all change."
Ken Cheng’s gag about the switch to a new 12-sided coin saw him win the funniest joke at this year's Edinburgh Fringe Festival, but the joke is also a timely reminder that there are under two months to make the transition away from the old pounds.
Only, some businesses have been mistakenly returning the new pound coin instead, which the government has said is slowing down efforts to make a smooth switch.
While more than one billion old round pounds have been returned to coin storage facilities, exchequer secretary to the Treasury, Andrew Jones, said today that so far half of the coins being returned are the new 12-sided £1 coin, as opposed to the soon-to-be discontinued one.
Jones is visiting coin storage facility Vaultex today, and has warned that the mistake is slowing the process down by preventing new pound coins from entering circulation and keeping the old ones in the nation's tills and purses.
The deadline to turn in old coins is just 51 days away, and Jones has reminded businesses of the countdown and urged them to maintain momentum.
Businesses must remain vigilant when returning coins, and ensure old and new coins are organised in separate packaging.
We also want cashiers and shopkeepers working at till points, who are truly on the front line of the changeover, to ensure only new pound coins are given to shoppers in their change.
The new coin was introduced on the 28 March, when a six month changeover period was declared.
On 15 October, the old pound coin will no longer be legal tender, and businesses will be under no obligation to accept them.
At present, many businesses still do not have machinery which supports the new pound coin, such as vending machines, lockers, and trolleys.
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