18 Dec 2013
New plastic banknotes will enter circulation from 2016, signalling the beginning of the end for the UK’s traditional paper notes, the Bank of England is expected to confirm.
The Central Bank has been consulting on plans to switch to polymer notes since the summer, and its findings are due to be published later today.
It is believed that the new notes will be introduced one denomination at a time, starting with the £5 note featuring Sir Winston Churchill in 2016. This could be followed by the £10 note, probably in 2017, on which Jane Austen will replace the face of Charles Darwin.
The notes will continue to feature the Queen and retain their current colouring.
As well as reducing the impact on the environment, the Bank of England believes that the new polymer notes would be more difficult to replicate, thus reducing the number of counterfeits in circulation.
Experts at Threadneedle Street also claim the notes will be more hygienic and hard-wearing, with the ability to be wiped clean and survive a hot wash.
The plans are being championed by the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, who launched a consultation on the idea shortly after taking up his post in the summer.
Plastic banknotes are already being rolled out in Carney’s native home of Canada, while Australia has been using the notes for more than two decades.