The Bank of England has finally unveiled its new £5 note, bearing the face of Sir Winston Churchill.
The note is printed on polymer, a think plastic film that is so durable it can survive a spin in the washing machine, is almost untearable, and will last about five years - rather than the usual 18 months.
However, there is one unlikely side effect. The polymer-coating means notes can stick together, raising fears that shoppers, especially the elderly, may accidentally end up paying twice when settling bills.
The note, set to be issued in September, was unveiled at Churchill’s birthplace, Blenheim Palace.
Around 440 million of the new notes will come into circulation from the autumn, with other higher denomination notes set to follow from next year.
The announcement by the Bank of England in 2013 that the current note, featuring prison reformer Elizabeth Fry, was to be replaced with one featuring the former prime minister, led to widespread outcry.
Thousands of people later signed a petition in protest of the face-swap, arguing that famous British women were being forgotten. Fry’s departure from the note meant that the Queen would be the only woman to feature on UK bank notes.
The bank subsequently announced that Jane Austen would be the face of the new £10 note from 2017 and artist JMW Turner would feature on the next £20 banknote, which is due to be released by 2020. Both notes will also be printed on polymer.
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