BoE to hold public consultation on plastic banknotes

Economics Editor Richard Edgar with examples of the polymer banknotes. Credit: ITV News/Richard Edgar

The Bank of England is to launch a public consultation on printing money on polymer banknotes instead of paper.

Research found that printing on polymer increased the durability, quality and security of the banknotes, according to the Bank of England.

Polymer banknotes are cleaner, more secure and more durable than paper notes. They are also cheaper and more environmentally friendly. However, the Bank of England would print notes on polymer only if we were persuaded that the public would continue to have confidence in, and be comfortable with, our notes. The results of the consultation programme on which we are embarking will therefore form a vital part of our assessment of the merits of polymer banknotes.

Consultations will be held across the UK over the next two months and a final decision will be announced in December.

The forthcoming consultations demonstrate the Bank’s commitment to transparency in relation to banknote issues, and are aimed at enhancing awareness and understanding of polymer so that the public can feed into the Bank’s decision in an informed way. I am looking forward to participating in a number of consultation events over the next two months.

If a decision is made to move to polymer the Bank said it will introduce smaller banknotes but this will not alter the current look or existing tiered sizing.

Polymer banknotes would be introduced one denomination at a time, with the Churchill £5 in 2016 at the earliest.