BofE update on withdrawal of old £20 and £50

The Bank of England has released details of timings for the withdrawal of the old paper £20 and £50 notes.

The impact Covid-19 on the £20 paper and polymer transition means there is a larger volume of paper £20s circulating than initially expected at this time. 

The slower transition has presented challenges in deciding an appropriate time to withdraw the paper £20, but it has now been decided that Withdrawal of Legal Tender Status (WoLTS) of the paper £20 will not now take place in 2021 as originally expected. 

Remaining consistent with other withdrawals the WoLTS date will avoid the Christmas period, meaning that the earliest possible withdrawal of the paper £20 will be Spring 2022. The Bank of England will give at least six months’ notice of the withdrawal date. 

The later withdrawal of the £20 note raises the possibility that the £20 and £50 paper withdrawals could be combined. However, this would need further consideration.