Following a three year research programme and a public consultation during autumn 2013, the Bank of England has decided that its next £5 and £10 banknotes will be printed on polymer.
The aim is to introduce the next £5 (featuring Sir Winston Churchill) in the second half of 2016 and £10 note (featuring Jane Austen) a year later. The new notes will be smaller (by around 15%).
The Bank’s research has shown considerable benefits in polymer banknotes, they are cleaner, more secure, and more durable than paper banknotes. They will provide enhanced counterfeit resilience, and increase the quality of banknotes in circulation. Polymer notes are also more environmentally friendly than paper and, because they last longer are, over time, cheaper than paper banknotes.
The results were supplemented by feedback gained during a 10 week public consultation programme, which showed 87% of respondents in favour of a move to polymer. To read the reports from the Polymer Public Consultation Programme see the links below.
Polymer Consultation - TNS Research Report
During the consultation period, the Bank conducted an online survey and attended nearly 50 events around the country, as well as commissioning independent focus groups and surveys.
In the lead up to the introduction of the new polymer banknotes, the Bank will carry out a full education and publicity programme to ensure that retailers, businesses, and the general public are fully aware of what the new notes look like and how to authenticate them.
In September 2015, having considered further developments in banknote technology since 2013, the Bank announced that the next £20 note will also be printed on polymer. The Bank’s research concluded that polymer combined with sophisticated security features continues to offer strengthened counterfeit resilience for Bank of England banknotes. Following the public nomination process during summer 2015, the character for the new note will be announced in spring 2016 and the new note issued by the end of 2020.
To find out more about polymer banknotes, see the detailed fact sheets or our frequently asked questions.
Detailed fact sheets
Frequently asked questions on polymer banknotes
To watch a short video about the decision to move to polymer banknotes and the Press Conference webcast see the links below.
The decision to move to polymer banknotes
A short video with Victoria Cleland