New Issue: Bank of England releases first polymer notes

Last week, the Bank of England introduced the first of its plastic banknotes with a new £5 piece entering circulation in England and Wales.

The new note, which was issued Sept. 13 and depicts Second World War leader Winston Churchill, will be less harmful to the environment and more difficult to counterfeit compared to the current-generation cotton-based notes, according to Bank Governor Mark Carney.

“The use of polymer means it can better withstand being repeatedly folded into wallets or scrunched up inside pockets and can also survive a spin in the washing machine,” said Carney, who was born in the Fort Smith, N.W.T., and served as governor of the Bank of Canada from 2008-13. “Like Churchill, the new polymer note will also stand the test of time. It is cleaner, being more resistant to dirt and moisture. It is safer, with better security features. And it is stronger, making it longer lasting and more environmentally friendly.”

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney poses with the recently released £5 banknote depicting wartime leader Winston Churchill. (JOE GIDDENS/AFP/Getty Images)

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney poses with the recently released £5 banknote depicting wartime leader Winston Churchill. (Photo by Joe Giddens/AFP/Getty Images)


“Winston Churchill was one of the greatest statesmen of all time and is the only Prime Minister to win the Nobel Prize for literature,” said Carney. “As he himself said, a ‘nation that forgets its past has no future.’ Our banknotes are repositories of the United Kingdom’s collective memory and are testaments to the outstanding achievements of the nation’s greatest individuals.”

A second polymer £10 banknote featuring Pride and Prejudice author Jane Austen is slated for release next year, and in 2020, 19th-century artist J.M.W. Turner will be featured on a £20 note.

According England’s central bank, the new notes are expected to last nearly three times longer than their predecessors.

For more information, visit the “New Fiver” website by clicking here.

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