At the end of 2009 the AVA sprung into action when it heard that the UK vending industry may soon have to cope with the introduction of a new design £1 coin due to an increasing number of counterfeit £1 coins in circulation.
It called together vending operator members, representing Autobar, Selecta, Bunzl, Coca-Cola, Britvic, AVS, COVER and Mars Drinks. They were clear on what needed to be done and they agreed that, until such time as it is absolutely necessary, there was no desire to replace the £1 coin and incur the costs that this would inevitably bring.
It was vital for the AVA to keep close links with the Treasury, the Mint, the Payment Council and Government, representing our industry at the highest level.
Jonathan Hilder has been lobbying hard and those long hours writing, networking and meeting government, press and officials are finally paying off. As the Mint announced that counterfeit £1 coins had risen from 2.63% to 2.81% ie: 1 in 40 was counterfeit, Jonathan was approached by the Telegraph to comment. His discussions with the journalist then sparked off a serious of calls from Channel 4, Sky and then the news team for The One Show from the BBC. During his conversation with the research team, Jonathan was invited to be interviewed on the TV programme. Time was short but he readily accepted and with the help of people such as Scan Coin, West Country Vending and Cymraeg Vending, he was able to offer the team at the BBC a few venues for filming. They settled on the first floor vending area at Media Wales in Cardiff and late afternoon Jonathan met Lucy Siegle for a filmed interview.
The interview followed a scene shot at the Royal Mint where it was explained 2 million £1 coins were taken off the streets, twenty three times more than 6 years ago. With 41 million counterfeit coins changing hands, the problem is huge and it impacts on many industries, vending being one of them.
Jonathan explained how important it was for the consumer to be confident that his £1 coin will buy him a product and the recent figure of 2.81% was still well below the recognised 5% threshold for introducing a change. Any new coinage places extra cost on businesses and would represent a £50,000 cost to this site operator alone but £45 million for the vending industry as a whole.
Whilst The One Show reassured us that there were no plans to re issue the £1 coin now, there were no guarantees for the future. So the role of the AVA remains vital in protecting our interests.
We have heard that Jonathan was such a hit with The One Show team that they have asked him back to talk about the 5p & 10p coins and the issue of sugar in machines placed in Welsh hospitals… looks like people are taking note of what the AVA has to say and we will be seeing more of Jonathan on our screens.