A new polymer £10 note will be unveiled today, featuring the portrait of author Jane Austen.
The note is being revealed on the 200th anniversary of Austen’s death. The Bank of England has printed 275 million new £10 notes, with arrival into circulation expected in September.
Austen’s image will replace a portrait of Charles Darwin, who has featured on the £10 note since 2000.
The note is the second polymer note to be released in the UK. Last September, plastic five pound notes were released into circulation to develop a more secure currency.
Chosen due to its environmentally friendly and durable nature, polymer notes are dirt and water resistant. Many countries around the world have already made the switch to plastic; with Canada using the polymer notes for six years.
However, there has been widespread controversy around the notes. Activists and religious groups are campaigning against the use of tallow, an animal fat, to create the polymer notes.
The Bank of England considered delaying the launch of the new £10 note to consider alternative materials. However, the launch has today gone ahead, after it was deemed too costly and could jeopardise the anti-counterfeit measures.
Due to the switch to plastic, banks across the country are under pressure to upgrade ATM machines. Polymer notes are thinner and more slippery, and some older cash machines struggle to dispense them.
Despite this, there are plans to expand the number of polymer notes in circulation, with the £20 note expected to change to plastic by 2020.