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New plastic £5 note launches

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The new plastic £5 note featuring Sir Winston Churchill enters circulation in the UK today.

The note is made from polymer, a thin, flexible plastic material, which is resistant to dirt and moisture, and lasts around 2.5 times longer than paper.

Although the notes enter circulation today, it will take a few weeks for them to spread to shops, businesses and banks.

Consumers can continue to spend paper £5 notes as usual until 5 May 2017, after which they will cease to be legal tender and will no longer be accepted in shops.

The £5 note is the first of the Bank of England’s new series of polymer notes, with the new £10 note featuring Jane Austen entering circulation in summer 2017 and the new £20 note featuring JMW Turner launching by 2020.

Bank of England governor Mark Carney said: “The New Fiver, made of polymer, will be cleaner, safer and stronger. Resistant to dirt and moisture, it will stay in good condition for longer. The new security features make it harder to counterfeit.

“The use of polymer means it can better withstand being repeatedly folded into wallets or scrunched up inside pockets and can also survive a spin in the washing machine. We expect polymer notes to last at least two-and-a-half times longer than the current generation of fivers and therefore reduce future costs of production.”

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