The Bank of England unveiled a new plastic £ 10 banknote on Tuesday, which has been hailed as “fantastic” for the blind and visually impaired.
The £ 10 note features raised tactile dots, similar to Braille characters, on the left side of the note and thin raised lines on the right.
Ian Morris, who volunteers for the charity Guide dogs, and is blind, tested the new plastic £ 10 bill when it was unveiled on Tuesday.
“It’s a fantastic invention; absolutely superb, ”said Morris, who works as a supply chain manager. The independent.
“The difference is night and day between the old paper tickets and the new plastic ones. From a blind person’s perspective, you can’t really tell the difference between an old £ 10 and a £ 20.
“You were luckier with the five. Now with the new plastic five it’s completely different, and with this new £ 10 with the touch features it’s effectively 5 tens and twenty, with completely different textures. It’s a huge leap forward. “
The Bank of England has announced plans to introduce the new touch features on the new £ 20 banknote, which is due out in 2020.
“What this means is you have a very easy way to put your notes in your wallet to make sure you know where you are,” Morris said.
“Day to day it made things a lot easier. Most of the time this was not a problem; you have people about to help you, but from my point of view i’m always much happier to organize my own life rather than letting others do it. “
Jane Austen, who features on the new £ 10, will be the only woman, other than the Queen, to feature on a current UK banknote when the updated banknote enters circulation in September. A £ 5 note featuring prison reformer Elizabeth Fry ceased to be legal tender on May 5.
The note is the second to be printed on a plastic polymer which the Bank says is cleaner, safer and stronger than the traditional cotton paper it will replace. A plastic five with Winston Churchill entered service last September.
Speaking at the launch of the new banknote at Winchester Cathedral, where Ms Austen was buried, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said the author “certainly deserves a place in the select group of historical figures to appear on our banknotes.
“Her novels have a lasting and universal appeal, and she is recognized as one of the greatest writers in English literature.
“As Austen joins Adam Smith, Boulton and Watt and Churchill, our notes will celebrate a wide range of people who have contributed in a wide range of fields.”
The new note also features a famous quote from Miss Bingley of Pride and Prejudice: “I declare after all that reading is only fun!
The switch to polymer banknotes sparked controversy last year after the Bank confirmed that a “very small amount” of tallow – or animal fat – had been used to produce the polymer pellets used in the process. production of new banknotes.
Activists and religious groups lobbied for sustainable plant-based alternatives and accused the central bank of forcing unethical products on the public.
The bank said it had delayed signing new contracts for the £ 20 polymer note, which is due for release in 2020 as it struggles to better understand public opinion on the matter. He said he’s also exploring other herbal replacement options, including palm oil and coconut oil.
The Bank said it would keep the £ 5 in circulation and issue the £ 10 as planned in September, as other options such as destroying the banknotes would be too costly.
Additional reporting by news agencies