Bank of England to confirm plastic money for Britain

Sterling is to go plastic, the Bank of England will announce today. New polymer notes will first be introduced in 2016, with a new £5 note featuring Winston Churchill, followed by a £10 Jane Austin note in 2017.

The move will mark the death of paper bank notes, which the Bank of England has been issuing since 1694.

The bank has said the decision will make for more durable notes that will last an estimated 6 times longer than the current cotton-paper notes. Improved resilience will compensate for higher production costs and save around £100m, the bank claims.

In Australia, polymer notes have been in circulation since 1988, and the Band of England’s decision follows Governor Mark Carney’s native Canada, where plastic currency is also being introduced.

Bank Note officials have already begun working with suppliers of cash machines, and with retailers to make provisions for the introduction of the new smaller notes.

Link, which runs the UK cashmachine network has announced that its machines will require new cassettes, to hold the notes, though due to the new size of denominations rather than the material.

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Readers' comments (2)

  • Anonymous

    I think you will find that Polymer notes were introduced in Australia in 1992, so they have been in circulation a little longer than 2 years!

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  • Thanks. Should have read "over 20 years". Article has been amended with correct introduction date.

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