LONDON: The £50 note will remain part of UK currency after a “new, more secure” version of the highest-value note in England was announced. It will be printed on thin, flexible plastic polymer material after the Turner £20 note is issued in 2020, the Bank of England said on Saturday.
The last crop of £50s was introduced in 2011 and the note’s future was uncertain after concerns were raised about it being used for money laundering and tax evasion. The Treasury said the next batch would be much harder to forge.
A decision over whose image will appear the note will be made after suggestions from members of the public. First introduced in 1981, there are 330m £50 notes in circulation with a combined value of £16.5bn, the Treasury said.
The exchequer secretary to the Treasury, Robert Jenrick, said: “Our coins and notes are respected and recognised the world over and are a key part of the UK’s heritage and identity.
“People should have as much choice as possible when it comes to their money, and we’re making sure that cash is here to stay. Our money needs to be secure and this new note will help prevent crime.”
The Bank of England ignored calls last year from animal rights activists to ditch polymer notes that contain traces of animal fat.
The Bank said polymer is cleaner and more durable. It allows extra security features to be added. Polymer notes last about 2.5 times longer than paper notes, the Bank said. The notes, however, take longer to biodegrade.
The European Central Bank said in May 2016 that it would phase out the €500 note, nicknamed the Bin Laden because of its association with money laundering and the financing of terrorism. The ECB said the fuchsia-coloured bills, the highest denomination of the eurozone’s seven banknotes, would no longer be printed or distributed from 2018 as they were used too often to finance crime.