Media statement


Bank of England update – new public consultation announced.


16 February 2017


Towards   the end of last year, the Bank of England hit the headlines when it emerged that the new plastic £5 note contained the animal fat, tallow. Yesterday the Bank of England announced that despite a public  call for the plastic notes to be made  without animal products , the £5 note will not be withdrawn. Read the full story via the BBC  It will also issue a £10 polymer note as planned.

We visited the Bank of England in January to discuss the issues raised by vegetarians  regarding tallow in the £5 notes.

Yesterday, the Bank of England issued a full statement, which can be found on the Bank’s website here

The Chief Cashier of the Bank of England contacted us and sent us the following.

“[Our statement] explains the careful consideration we have given to this issue and the challenges it has presented with regards to our banknote issuance programme. We have concluded that we will:

  • not withdraw the current £5 polymer banknotes from circulation and will proceed  with plans to withdraw legal tender status of the £5 paper banknotes on 5 May 2017;
  • continue with the proposed launch of the new £10 polymer banknotes in September 2017, using the existing polymer substrate;
  • complete its work with suppliers and internal analysis to determine the feasibility of using  alternative substrates to produce polymer notes; and
  • launch a full public consultation on the contents of the polymer substrate to be used in any future reprints of both the £5 and £10 polymer banknotes and the proposed new £20 polymer banknotes.“

Lynne Elliot, Chief Executive of the Vegetarian Society said:  “We appreciate that some vegetarians may be concerned about this outcome. We encourage everyone to take part in the new public consultation about the new bank notes once it is launched. We will continue to work with the Bank of England and will inform people when the consultation opens.”

If you would like to get in touch with us on this issue then email

For past news stories on this item visit :
•    Animal tallow in new £5 notes – 30 November 2016
•    What should happen about the current five pound note?  - 2 December 2016


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The Vegetarian Society of the United Kingdom Limited, Parkdale, Dunham Road, Altrincham WA14 4QG
Registered Charity No. 259358, Registered Company No. 959115 (England and Wales)

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