Paper Money

Bank of England extends De La Rue contract for note printing

The Bank of England has extended its contract with De La Rue to print the bank’s notes. The £20 note, depicting artist J.M.W. Turner, was issued on Feb. 20 this year.

Images courtesy of the Bank of England

De La Rue, the world’s largest bank note printer, may have received a reprieve from its recent financial difficulties with the announcement by the Bank of England that its court of directors decided to extend its contract with the firm until 2028.

A statement by the bank concerned the printing facility in Debden, Essex, where England’s currency is printed. The contract was entered into in 2015 and was set to expire in 2025 with the option of a three-year extension.

Sarah John, the Bank of England’s chief cashier, whose facsimile signature is on current bank notes, said, “The relationship with De La Rue is an important one for the Bank of England. During the course of the current contract, we have worked closely together to launch three new banknote designs on polymer. In 2021, the release of the new Alan Turing £50 note will complete our polymer set. We are very pleased to announce the extension of the contract today, which will enable us to continue to develop our Debden facility as a global center of excellence for banknote printing.”

More than 4.4 billion Bank of England notes are in circulation. Together they are worth about £82 billion. They include the £5 note with Winston Churchill, first issued on Sept. 13, 2016; the polymer £10 note, featuring Jane Austen, issued on Sept. 14, 2017; and the £20 note, portraying artist J.M.W. Turner, issued on Feb. 20 this year. The new £50 bank note will be released in 2021.

De La Rue lost its exclusive contract to print British passports in 2019.

The polymer substrate is made in England by Innovia Security, at a £40 million facility in Wigton, England. Innovia’s products are used to make virtually all of the 50 billion polymer notes already in circulation internationally. The plant coats the clear polymer film and adds the security features. The notes are then transported to De La Rue in Debden, for printing and overcoating.

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