Old Bank of England notes
This means that shops no longer have to accept the notes, and it is up to banks whether they agree to swap notes after this date.
From July 1 only notes with the image of Adam Smith, the Scottish economist, will be legal tender. These notes came into circulation in March 2007.
About 10 per cent of all £20 notes in circulation – equating to 150 million notes, worth £3 billion – are the old versions featuring the English composer. They were introduced in June 1999 along with a view of the west face of Worcester Cathedral, replacing the previous series of notes featuring Michael Faraday, the physicist, and before that William Shakespeare.
The Adam Smith design was introduced to cut down on forgeries. The new £20 design included more of the printed words raised and a greater number of flecks that show bright red and green under an ultraviolet light.
Old notes will eventually be sent to one of the official Government incinerators, where they will burned alongside damaged notes. A small amount of thermoelectric power is generated by these sites, which also burn illegal tobacco seized by HM Revenue & Customs at British ports.
After June 30 if a bank or building society refuses to swap a note, consumers have the right to swap the notes at the Bank of England itself. The Bank promises that it will honour the face value of any note issued, even notes from before the Second World War.