FOLLOWING the release of the polymer £5 note last September, the new £10 note is the most accessible yet.

The new note retains tiered sizing and includes bold numerals and a similar colour palette to the current paper note. In addition, the polymer £10 notes will each include a tactile feature created by a series of raised dots, making it easily distinguishable from the £5 note which has none.

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The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) has worked closely with the Bank of England on developing accessible notes, offering guidance on what the new bank notes should look and feel like.

Through focus group testing with a number of blind and partially sighted people, they gathered user feedback which enabled them to advise the Bank of England on the preferred size of the notes, what they should feel like, and how they would work best for people with sight loss. 

Steve Tyler, Head of Solutions, Strategy and Planning at RNIB, said on the introduction of the new polymer notes: "The new notes will have an additional tactile feature, different visual features and be successively larger in size.

"These characteristics should help people living with sight loss distinguish between denominations. The staged introduction of the new notes will provide blind and partially sighted people with time to get used to the new materials being used.”

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Like the £5 note already in circulation featuring Sir Winston Churchill, the new £10 note features Pride And Prejudice author Austen.

Just over one billion polymer £10 notes have been printed ready for issue and they will start to appear as the notes leave cash centres around the country.

The new banknotes are expected to last at least two-and-a-half times longer than the current paper £10 notes - around five years in total.

People can continue to spend the existing paper £10 notes for now. They will be phased out gradually as they are banked.

Legal tender status of the paper £10 featuring Charles Darwin will eventually be withdrawn in spring 2018. The exact date will be announced at least three months in advance.

A new Bank of England £20 note featuring artist JMW Turner will follow in 2020.