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Design for plastic £5 featuring Sir Winston Churchill to be unveiled

New plastic notes will be dirt and moisture resistant, lasting 2.5 times longer than paper

Elsa Vulliamy
Sunday 29 May 2016 16:08 BST
Sir Churchill will replace Elizabeth Fry on British £5 notes
Sir Churchill will replace Elizabeth Fry on British £5 notes (AFP/Getty)

The full design for Britain’s new £5 note, which will be made of plastic and feature Sir Winston Churchill, will be revealed this week.

Set to be introduced in September, the new note will be 15 per cent smaller than the current fiver, and will be made of a thin plastic polymer rather than paper.

Former Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill will become the first modern-era politician to feature on a banknote and will replace social reformer Elizabeth Fry.

The exact design of the banknote will be revealed on Thursday at Blenheim Palace.

A new £10 note design, featuring author Jane Austen is set to be introduced in 2017, and a £20 note featuring painter JMW Turner is expected before 2020.

The Bank of England claims that the new plastic bank notes will last at least 2.5 times as long as paper notes, and will be resistant to dirt and moisture.

A standard washing machine cycle or a spilled drink should have a little effect on the new notes, which can be wiped clean and will even survive a laundry cycle with “minimal damage”.

The longevity of the notes is predicted to save the Bank £100m over the next 10 years, and money fraud is expected to be reduce, as polymer notes are harder to counterfeit.

The Bank's chief cashier, Victoria Cleland, told The Sunday Times that the new material had been popular among members of the public who have been shown them: "They often said 'Wow, that's really cool'. You don't often get 'cool' and 'the Bank of England' in the same sentence.

"They are modern and I think they're beautiful."

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