Race to replace paper bank notes
By Laura Enfield | 16th September 2022
People are racing to exchange their old paper banknotes for the new plastic versions before they cease to be legal tender, reports The Guardian.
From end of September the paper money will no longer be accepted in shops or by businesses.
There is no deadline for exchanging the notes but The Bank of England is dealing with a huge demand and long queues (although not as long as The Queue) as people arrive to swap paper £20 and £50 notes.
Holders of old paper banknotes, some outside the country, have been contacting the Bank on social media with concerns they will be left with worthless currency.
It has reassured people that anyone who has not spent their paper money by the deadline or who cannot visit London to exchange it in person can send their old banknotes to the Bank's London offices by post.
The Bank tweeted back: "All genuine Bank of England notes that have been or are soon-to-be withdrawn from circulation retain their face value for all time and can be exchanged with the Bank of England in London."
Polymer banknotes were introduced by the Bank in 2016, ending 320 years of paper money in Britain, with the £5 note featuring Sir Winston Churchill the first to be switched.
New £20 notes featuring the artist JMW Turner were issued in February 2020, followed by the polymer £50 banknote featuring the Bletchley Park codebreaker and scientist Alan Turing in June 2021.
From October, these polymer £20 and £50 notes will be the only versions accepted by British businesses. However, the Bank said some UK banks and Post Offices would accept the withdrawn notes if they are deposited by a customer.
More than £6billion worth of paper £20 notes - featuring the economist Adam Smith - remain in circulation, along with more than £8billion of paper £50 notes - featuring the entrepreneur Matthew Boulton and the engineer James Watt.
After the death of the Queen, the nation's coins and banknotes will in time be replaced with versions featuring the head of King Charles III. However, the process is expected to take at least two years for notes and longer for coins.
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