The Bank of England is considering a new production process for the new £20 note after public outrage over the presence of animal fat in the newly released £5.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the bank confirmed that it will continue to manufacture new £5 and £10 notes using a tiny amount of animal tallow, despite calls for it to be taken out of circulation. It will, however, look at possible changes to the upcoming new £20 note.
Tallow is the fat that surrounds a cow’s organs and is often used in soaps and candles.
In November, vegetarians and vegans reacted furiously to news that animal fat is used in the £5 note, which is the first to be made of polymer and has been heralded as Britain’s most advanced ever.
Now, after an evaluation period the bank has decided that it will now undertake a “full consultation” to decide whether it is appropriate to continue using tallow in the production of the new £20, due to be released in 2020.
“The bank will therefore launch a full consultation on 30 March about the content of polymer substrate to be used in its future banknotes. The consultation paper will set out the key issues and invite views from the public. This will allow the bank to understand better the range of public opinion on this issue and inform its future decision making,” a statement said.
It added that it has delayed “the signing of the relevant contracts for supply of materials for the £20 polymer until we have decided the best way forward weighing all the considerations.”
The £5 note will stay the same
While the Bank of England has decided to consult on the new £20, it has also confirmed that the new £5 — which is already in circulation — and the new £10, due for release in September, will continue to use animal tallow.
“The Bank has now concluded that it would be appropriate to keep the £5 polymer note in circulation and to issue the £10 polymer note as planned, in September,” the release said.
Among the concerns of the bank is the possibility that withdrawing the new £5 from circulation could cause a cash shortage.
“The Bank works hard to ensure that the public has enough secure notes to use in daily life and destroying the hundreds of millions of notes already printed would put this at risk. The bank cannot guarantee sufficient stocks of paper notes to replace the destroyed polymer notes,” it said.