Plastic banknotes: Bank of England switches to plastic with new Winston Churchill note
New £10 note featuring Jane Austen to follow in 2017
The Bank of England is set to issue plastic banknotes for the first time featuring Sir Winston Churchill in a five pound note starting 2016.
A new polymer £10 note featuring Jane Austen is set to follow around a year later, the Bank said.
The switch to plastic follows a three-year research programme that found polymer notes are cleaner, last approximately 2.5 times longer and are more difficult to counterfeit.
A public consultation, giving people the chance to handle the notes in shopping centres across the UK, showed 87 per cent of 13,000 individuals who responded were in favour of polymer. Only 6 per cent were opposed and 7 per cent were neutral.
The move is highly symbolic as the Bank of England has issued paper banknotes since it was founded back in 1694.
Governor Mark Carney said: "Ensuring trust and confidence in money is at the heart of what central banks do. Polymer notes are the next step in the evolution of bank note design to meet that objective.
"The quality of polymer notes is higher, they are more secure from counterfeiting, and they can be produced at a lower cost to the taxpayer and the environment."
The switch from paper to polymer notes, which can survive a spin in the washing machine, could bring savings of 100 million pounds over a decade.
The new notes will retain their familiar look, including the portrait of the Queen and historical characters, the Bank said.
Australia was the first country to issue polymer banknotes in 1988.
More than 20 countries use plastic notes worldwide, including Canada, Singapore, New Zealand and Mexico.
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