Mark Carney confirms Britain is to see plastic money by 2016

The Bank of England has confirmed it will be producing Britain's first plastic notes in 2016. The first note to printed on polymer will be a five pound note featuring Sir Winston Churchill.

Britain's revered wartime prime minister will be followed by Jane Austen who will take pride of place on a ten pound plastic note.

After a lengthy three year research process the Bank found several advantages to using plastic over paper.

The new notes will be more resistant to dirt and moisture and will be harder to counterfeit. Using polymer instead of paper will lead to bank notes being at least 2.5 times more durable than today's paper money.

Polymer notes have an added bonus of being more environmentally friendly because they last longer than their more fragile paper counterparts.

The public are overwhelmingly supportive of the new scheme with 87 per cent of those who responded to the Bank's consultation, voicing support for the new measure.

Some features of the present system of money printing will remain the same. The size of notes will increase in line with their value.

Commenting on today's announcement, governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney said:

Ensuring trust and confidence in money is at the heart of what central banks do. Polymer notes are the next step in the evolution of banknote design to meet that objective.

The quality of polymer notes is higher, they are more secure from counterfeiting, and they can be produced at lower cost to the taxpayer and the environment.

The contract for printing the new notes has not yet been awarded. However, the notes will continue to be printed in Debden, Essex.