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Bank of England announces next £20 note to be printed on polymer

In a move designed to make the UK's currency more secure and durable the Bank of England has announced that Britain's next £20 note will be printed on plastic

The new £20 design will be the third banknote to be printed on polymer, the BOE announced, following a 10-week public consultation that showed 87 percent of respondents were in favour.

The new note is expected to enter circulation by the end of this decade.

The Bank announced in December 2013 that the next £5 and £10 banknotes would be printed on polymer.

The new polymer £5 note featuring former prime minister Sir Winston Churchill will be issued in autumn 2016. Victoria Cleland, the Bank's chief cashier, said that De La Rue, which is in charge of the contract, will start printing the new notes this month.

The £10 polymer note featuring author Jane Austen is expected to enter circulation in 2017.

The £20 note is Britain's most common tender, with around 1.9 billion in circulation at the end of February, compared with 737 million £10 notes, according to Bank data. Ms Cleland said the switch to plastic would help to reduce fraud and ensure banknotes were more durable.

"Experience from central banks that have issued polymer banknotes has been positive. Canada, for example, has seen a real reduction in counterfeit levels since launching its polymer series a few years ago. Polymer is also cleaner and more durable, leading to better quality notes in circulation," she said in a speech in Bristol.

The Bank is yet to decide whether it will print £50 polymer notes.

Earlier this year, Mark Carney, the Bank's governor, asked the public this year to nominate the face of the next £20 note. The historical figure, who should "celebrate Britain’s achievements in the visual arts", will be unveiled next spring.

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