The final design for the new Bank of England £5 note, which will enter circulation in September, will feature the image of Sir Winston Churchill. The new note will be made of plastic rather than cotton paper, which is believed to be cleaner, more durable and harder to counterfeit than the current cotton paper banknotes.
However, the use of new material might create difficulties since the notes may initially be prone to stick together. Although countries such as Scotland, Australia and Canada have been using the thin, see-through polymer, plastic banknotes are brand new to England. The new polymer notes, which are 15 % smaller than the current ones, will be accompanied by advice to businesses about dealing with them.
The decision to feature Churchill was made three years ago. Churchill’s declaration “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat”, a view of Westminster and the Elizabeth Tower from the South Bank, the Great Clock and a background image of the Nobel Prize are all present in the artwork on the banknote. It will take a year for the new note to completely replace the current 329 million Elizabeth Fry £5 notes in circulation.
Plans for other notes include featuring Jane Austen on the new £10 note which will be issued in 2017, and JMW Turner who will appear on the next £20 banknote expected by 2020. New polymer banknotes are being issued in Scotland as well.