Britain plans to introduce a new £1 coin to help reduce counterfeiting, Chancellor George Osborne will announce in his 2014 Budget today.
The new coin, set to be introduced in 2017, is based on the design of the threepenny piece, a 12 sided coin in circulation between 1937 and 1971.
It will be composed of two different coloured metals and contain an iSIS security feature, a new high security coinage currency system developed by the Royal Mint, which estimates that about 45m £1 coins in circulation are now forgeries.
iSIS (Integrated Secure Identification System) enables not just coins, but the whole cash cycle to be more secure, protecting the public and retailers from counterfeiting.
The Chancellor is expected to tell MPs today that the current coin, which has been in circulation for 30 years, is no longer suitable for use.
“With advances in technology making high value coins like the £1 ever more vulnerable to counterfeiters, it’s vital that we keep several paces ahead of the criminals to maintain the integrity of our currency,” he will say.
Osborne tweeted this picture of the £1 coin next to the Budget box, captioned: "Today I will deliver a Budget for a resilient economy – starting with a resilient pound coin."
A public consultation will be held over the summer, focusing on how to manage any impacts before a final decision is made on the precise specification of the new coin, including the metal composition.
Adam Lawrence, chief executive of The Royal Mint said in a statement: “The Royal Mint works closely with HM Treasury, the National Crime Agency and the cash-handling industry who are committed to maintaining the integrity of the UK’s currency and exploring ways in which counterfeiting can be combated. Together we ensure that every effort is made to maximise opportunities to identify and withdraw counterfeit coins from circulation.
“We are very proud to be recognised nationally in terms of providing innovative solutions on an international scale. We are already known as the world’s leading export mint, but iSIS confirms our place as leaders within our industry, as we continue to expand the boundaries of minting technology”.