Britain to Start Issuing Plastic Money in 2016

LONDON (Los Angeles Times/MCT) -

Paper or plastic? No, not what kind of bag do you want your purchases in; it’s what kind of money you’ll use to pay for them, at least in Britain.

The Bank of England announced Wednesday that, beginning in 2016, it will start issuing polymer banknotes — in other words, plastic money.

The switch to plastic is expected to save money, in more ways than one. The polymer banknotes should last at least 2 1/2 times longer than paper ones, officials say. And that means printing costs will be less in the long run.

But this is a country that loves tradition. Britain also jealously guards its currency. It has clung to the pound when other European nations have opted for the euro.

Plastic fivers will roll off the presses in England in 2016, with 10-pound notes to follow a year later. Both will be slightly smaller than their paper counterparts.