Paper Money

Bank of England to issue new £50 note in polymer series

The Bank of England confirmed on Oct. 13 that it is moving ahead with plans to issue a new £50 note. This will be the final one in the new series when it joins the £5, £10 and £20 notes. It will also be made of polymer.

The bank will continue its recent policy of involving the public in deciding whose portrait should be on the note. The Banknote Character Advisory Committee will select the subject it would like to see represented and will ask the public to nominate individuals from that field. For instance, the visual arts was chosen for the £20 note, to be issued in 2020, and resulted in the selection by the committee of painter J.M.W. Turner after 30,000 nominations were made.

The bank’s statement on polymer reads: “Polymer notes are cleaner, safer and stronger. They are harder to counterfeit and increase the quality of notes in circulation. And, because they last around 2.5 times longer than paper notes, they are also more environmentally friendly.”

It also addressed the controversial animal by-product composition of polymer, concluding that since it has been unable to find any viable substitutes, the substrate will remain unchanged.

However, it will comply with its legal obligations to consult with outside organizations before making its decision final. 

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