In December 2013, the bank announced that the next 5- and 10-pound banknotes would be printed on polymer following a 10-week public consultation that found 87% of respondent were in favor of the change. The polymer 5-pound note featuring Winston Churchill will be issued in autumn 2016, the 10-pound polymer note featuring Jane Austen entering circulation a year later.
The bank made the decision to move to polymer for the 20-pound note following extensive research into the developments in security features for notes printed on cotton-based paper and polymer since the 2013 decision was made. A competitive tender process for the supply of the polymer for the 20-pound note is expected to start in late 2015.
The note, which will feature a visual artist nominated during the public nominations period held earlier this year, will enter circulation in 3-5 years’ time.
A bank committee is considering which character will appear on the new 20-pound note. It received 29,701 nominations from the public after it announced it wanted to celebrate an artist on the note. Some 592 eligible visual artists are being considered for the honor. The final decision will be made by the bank’s governor, Mark Carney. Favorites include the sculptor and artist Barbara Hepworth, the author Beatrix Potter, and fashion designer Alexander McQueen.