HUNTINGDONSHIRE District Council is facing a bill of up to £3,000 to upgrade pay-and-display parking machines – because 5p and 10p coins are about to get thicker.

HUNTINGDONSHIRE District Council is facing a bill of up to £3,000 to upgrade pay-and-display parking machines - because 5p and 10p coins are about to get thicker.

From January, the Treasury intends to mint coins using steel instead of copper and, while they will have the same weight and diameter, the coins will be 11pc thicker.

The new minting method will save the Treasury £176m, but upgrading each of HDC's 67 machines across the district in preparation for the change is likely to cost around £45 a time.

Dozens of local authorities will have to foot the bill for their updates, while the Local Government Association is calling for the Treasury to fund the switchover - a campaign which HDC is backing.

Sonia Hansen, streetscene manager for HDC, said the council had been aware of the arrangements for some time, but that every machine may not need to be reconfigured.

"We don't have a date for the programme to start yet, but it's possible that it could be combined with the work needed for charges going up on January 7," she said.

Peter Box, chairman of the LGA's economy and transport board, said: "Councils across the country are striving to continue providing vital services while managing deep funding cuts from government. The cost and effort of updating parking machines is an extra burden they could do without."

The councils hit hardest by the upgrade, according to the LGA, will be Sheffield City, shelling out £81,000, and Calderdale in West Yorkshire, which will need to spend £48,000 on 215 machines.

A Treasury spokesman said: "The government consulted before deciding on the change, and the introduction of the new coins has already been delayed to allow industry - including local councils - time to prepare."