Questions about banknote production

We publish details of a selection of requests made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, and the information we disclose in response.

Date: 10 September 2020

Disclosure:

(1) Material manufacturing cost of each individual £10 and £20 piece between the time period of October and December 2018. And the material manufacturing cost of any individual £5 piece between the time period of August and October 2017. 

The Bank of England’s (the ‘Bank’s’) total manufacturing costs for all of the denominations in the time periods October to December 2018 and August to October 2017 were between 7 and 8 pence per note.

(2) Why do the print runs vary in length?

The reason print runs vary in length can be for many reasons but a significant factor is the level of anticipated demand for the four denominations.

(3) We deduct the cost of printing and issuing banknotes from the income on these assets, and return the balance to HM Treasury. So does this mean BOE makes no profit over its cost per £5, £10, £20, £50 note denominations. If so who collects the interest on the borrowed money for the government’s trust fund, the Treasury?

The Bank does not make a profit on the production of banknotes. Members of the Note Circulation Scheme buy new banknotes from us at face value. We invest this money in assets such as government bonds. We deduct the cost of printing and issuing banknotes from the income on these assets, and return the balance to HM Treasury. Information relating to this can be found on page 37 of the Bank’s latest Annual Report and Accounts to end-February 2020. This income is called seigniorage.

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