New polymer banknotes to be introduced, beginning with Sir Winston Churchill £5 note in 2016.
The decision on polymer notes will mark the beginning of the end for 320 years of paper notes from the Bank. The move by Threadneedle Street follows Bank governor Mark Carney’s native Canada, where plastic notes are being rolled out, and Australia, where they have been in circulation for more than two decades.
Carney launched a public consultation on polymer banknotes, seen as cleaner and more durable, shortly after arriving at the Bank this summer. However, the Bank’s notes division has been considering plastic money for several years.
Bank officials have been touring shopping centres and business groups around the country with prototype notes to canvas public opinion.