Bank of England Switches to Plastic Notes

January 22, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. switch /swɪtʃ/ (v.) – to change from one thing to another
Example: The company switched from plastic to paper bag in order to help save the environment.

2. note /noʊt/ (n.) – paper money; a bill
Example: I lost some Euro notes a couple of days ago.

3. durable /ˈdʊərəbəl, ˈdyʊər-/ (adj.) – able to remain usable or in good condition for a long time
ExampleDurable products can be used for as long as 20 years.

4. forge /fɔrdʒ, foʊrdʒ/ (v.) – to make an illegal copy of something, especially of money
Example: The government is trying to make unique paper money that is difficult to forge.

5. fitting /ˈfɪtɪŋ/ (adj.) – appropriate for a particular purpose
Example: William Shakespeare is a fitting figure to represent England’s literary history.


Read the text below.
The Bank of England has recently decided to switch from paper to plastic notes.

Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, has formally announced that polymer banknotes will be in circulation in 2016. The new notes will include the £5 note featuring Winston Churchill and the £10 note featuring Jane Austen.

Carney explained that the new notes will be a symbol of progress and tradition. This modification will celebrate England’s history and tradition as the notes will be featuring more of England’s most notable figures, with the help of the public’s suggestions.

The polymer notes will be less thin and will be featuring a see-through window and other security features.

In addition, the notes will feature historical figures that truly represent the country’s history and diversity. A committee will suggest a theme, such as scientific achievement, and will also invite the public to suggest more fitting historical figures.

Furthermore, the Churchill notes will be 15% smaller. However, the varying sizes for different denominations will be retained to aid blind people in differentiating the notes.

The new notes will be harder, slower, and more expensive to forge; hence, they will be more secure.

Also, the polymer notes are more durable as they can last two and a half times longer than the current paper money. They shrink and melt at 120 degree Celsius [SEL-see-uh s, -shee-]. This feature means that the new notes will survive washing machines. However, they could be damaged by a hot iron.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you think that switching to polymer notes is a good initiative? Why or why not?
·         How would these new notes be useful to the people and the country as a whole?

Discussion B

·         Why do you think some people counterfeit money?
·         How else can the government prevent counterfeiting of money?


January 22, 2014