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New £20 polymer note unveiled

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Written by: Emma Lunn
10/10/2019
Bank of England governor Mark Carney has unveiled the design of a new £20 note featuring the artist JMW Turner.

The polymer £20 note contains sophisticated security features making it the most secure Bank of England banknote yet.

Polymer notes last longer than paper notes and they stay in better condition during day-to-day use. For the first time, the note incorporates two windows and a two-colour foil, making it very difficult to counterfeit.

The new £20 note, like the polymer £10, will contain a tactile feature to help vision impaired people identify the denomination.

The polymer £20 note will join the Churchill £5 and the Austen £10. A new £50 note, featuring Alan Turing, will follow in 2021.

You will begin to see the new £20 note from 20 February next year as the notes leave cash centres around the country and enter general circulation.

You’ll still be able to spend paper £20 notes as usual and these will be gradually withdrawn as they are banked by retailers and the public. Notice will be given six months ahead of legal tender status of the paper £20 being withdrawn.

Mark Carney, Bank of England governor, said: “Our banknotes celebrate the UK’s heritage, salute its culture, and testify to the achievements of its most notable individuals.

“And so it is with the new £20 banknote, featuring JMW Turner, launched today at Turner Contemporary in Margate. Turner’s contribution to art extends well beyond his favourite stretch of shoreline. Turner’s painting was transformative, his influence spanned lifetimes, and his legacy endures today. The new £20 note celebrates Turner, his art and his legacy in all their radiant, colourful, evocative glory.”

The new £20 note will be the first to feature the signature of Sarah John, the Bank of England’s chief cashier.

She said: “The new £20 is an important part of our commitment to providing banknotes that people can use with confidence. Our polymer notes are much harder to counterfeit and, with the £20 being our most common note, this marks a big step forward in our fight against counterfeiting. I hope the public will look forward to spending their new Turner £20s from February next year.”

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