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Guide dog owners attend unveiling of the new £10 note at Winchester Cathedral

18 Jul 2017

People with sight loss invited to try out the new note’s tactile feature

Today, on the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney unveiled the design of the new £10 note featuring the world-renowned author. The note is printed on polymer and is the first Bank of England banknote with a tactile feature to help people with sight loss.

Bo E Chief Cashier Victoria Cleland , Soton Team EO Pete Bungay With GD Thomas , And Soton Team HOM Pete Smith (1)As it is made of polymer, the new £10 note is cleaner, safer and stronger. It joins the Churchill £5 in the first family of polymer Bank of England banknotes and a new £20 note featuring J.M.W Turner will follow in 2020. The £10 note contains sophisticated security features which make it very difficult to counterfeit. It is expected to last at least 2.5 times longer than the current paper £10 notes – around five years in total – and stay in better condition during day to day use.

The new tactile feature on this note is a series of raised dots in the top left-hand corner and has been developed in conjunction with RNIB. This is in addition to the elements already incorporated in Bank of England banknotes for people who are blind or partially sighted; the tiered sizing, bold numerals, raised print and differing colour palettes.

The Bank of England contacted Guide Dogs to invite three guide dog owners to the note’s unveiling, so they can feel the note’s new tactile feature for themselves. Wendy Rankin, Director of Mobility Services at Guide Dogs, said: “We’re delighted that the Bank of England has included a tactile feature on the new polymer £10 note, ensuring that people with sight loss can continue to use cash with confidence.

“The charity Guide Dogs works hard to make sure that people who are blind or partially sighted are not left out of life. We know that including something so simple as a tactile feature on the new polymer £10 note helps people with vision impairments to live their lives independently.”

The new £10 note will be issued on 14 September 2017 and the public will begin to see them in the following days and weeks as the notes leave cash centres around the country and enter general circulation. The public can continue to spend paper £10 notes as usual and these will be gradually withdrawn as they are banked by retailers and the public. Legal tender status of the paper £10 featuring Charles Darwin will be withdrawn in Spring 2018 with the exact date being announced at least three months in advance.

Speaking at Winchester Cathedral, the resting place of Jane Austen, the Governor said: “Our banknotes serve as repositories of the country’s collective memory, promoting awareness of the United Kingdom’s glorious history and highlighting the contributions of its greatest citizens. The new £10 note celebrates Jane Austen’s work. Austen’s novels have a universal appeal and speak as powerfully today as they did when they were first published. The new £10 will be printed on polymer, making it safer, stronger and cleaner. The note will also include a new tactile feature on the £10 to help the visually impaired, ensuring the nation’s money is as inclusive as possible.” 

Victoria Cleland, the Bank’s Chief Cashier, said: “The new £10 note marks the next exciting step in our introduction of cleaner, safer, stronger polymer banknotes, and I am grateful to the cash industry for their work towards a smooth transition. I am delighted that the Jane Austen £10 note incorporates an innovative tactile feature, which I hope will greatly benefit blind and partially sighted users.”

Here’s what guide dog owner Ian Morris thinks of the new £10 note’s tactile feature. He’s shown holding the note as he speaks to the camera.

Find out more about the new £10 note.