New £1 coin

Ahead of today’s 2014 Budget, the Treasury has taken the wraps off a redesigned £1 coin which takes its inspiration from the retired twelve-edged Threepenny Bit. The new coin is due to be introduced in 2017 following a public consultation on its introduction.

The Chancellor described the new coin as “resilient” in a nod to both the new security features of the coin (the Treasury described the new design as “the most secure in the world”), and the Conservative Party’s trepidatious stance on the EU. Ensuring the new coin is difficult to replicate will be high on the priority list for the Treasury – recent estimates pegged the number of forged £1 in circulation at 3%, or around £45 million.

As with previous coinage, there will be a competition to decide the design for the reverse side of the the new currency.

With one of the major Budget announcements – an increase in support for working parents – already leaked, critics have said this new coin is nothing more than a flashy distraction from a Budget that will offer little new support for businesses or individuals. Traditionally one big announcement is saved for the Budget speech, however a hallmark of George Osborne’s Budgets has been a staid approach to national finance and little in the way of “giveaways.”

The Budget speech commences at 12.30 today.