Britain's first plastic five pound note unveiled

The new polymer £5 note featuring Sir Winston Churchill, was unveiled at Blenheim Palace today. Credit: Joe Giddens/PA

Britain's first plastic banknote - a fiver featuring the face of Sir Winston Churchill - has been unveiled by the Bank of England today.

The note, printed on a thin plastic film called polymer, marks a significant move away from the traditional paper notes that have been used by Britons for more than 300 years.

According to Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney the notes which will officially go into circulation in September offer the "most advanced security features yet" due to the polymer's durable and secure make up.

He said: "Our banknotes are testaments to the outstanding achievements of the nation's greatest individuals. They are repositories of the United Kingdom's collective memory.

"That contribution will continue with the new £5, which brings together the future, in the form of polymer and the most advanced security features yet, and Britain's glorious history, in the achievements of Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill."

ITV News consumer editor Chris Choi reports:

  • What does the new note look like?

The new note is printed on polymer, a thin flexible plastic film, which is reportedly more durable and secure.

It is slightly smaller than the note it is replacing and can be wiped clean as well as being tear-resistant.

Churchill was chosen for the note because of his “bulldog spirit”, according to the Bank of England Credit: Joe Giddens/PA
  • When will the note be in circulation?

The new plastic £5 note will go into circulation in September with a first print-run of 440 million notes.

The new £5 banknote, which features Sir Winston Churchill, being printed. Credit: Bank of England/PA
  • What happens next?

The introduction of the plastic £5 note is just the start and its introduction will be followed by a new plastic £10 note, featuring Jane Austen, in the summer of 2017, and a plastic £20 note, featuring JMW Turner by 2020.