By: Eastern Eye Staff
THE Bank of England has said it will launch a full public consultation ahead of the proposed new £20 polymer banknotes following the controversy over the use of tallow in the new £5 notes.
In a letter last Wednesday (15), Victoria Cleland, the chief cashier and director of notes at the Bank of England, told Hindu faith leaders that the bank will “continue with the proposed launch of the new £10 polymer banknotes in September 2017, using the existing polymer substrate”.
However, following concerns among some Hindus about the use of animal derived products in the new notes, the bank said it would launch a 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”.
The polymer £5 notes were unveiled in September, with the Bank of England extolling the new banknotes for being waterproof and having enhanced security features.
But it came come under fire for using tallow, a product derived from animal fats, in the polymer pellets used to make the £5 notes.
Tallow is derived from animal fats (suet) and is also widely used in the manufacture of candles and soap.
Vegans, vegetarians, Hindus, Sikhs and Jains were among those who protested against the use of tallow in the notes.
Representatives from the Hindu community met Cleland earlier this month and explained their concerns over the new notes.
They said some Hindu temples across the UK had banned the use of the new £5 note as donations and offering to deities inside the temple.
Following their meeting, Cleland said assured the group in her letter last week that the bank will work with suppliers to explore using alternative substrates to produce polymer notes.
Radha Mohan Das of Bhaktivedanta Manor said: “We are both shocked and saddened to receive news that the Bank of England have already printed £10 notes containing tallow.
“As a temple community our ethos is non-violence. As such we stopped accepting the new £5 notes which, in turn, impacted the donations we depend on. Now with news of the £10 note, we will have to review our stance on banning tallow notes. We find ourselves having to choose between compromising our core religious principles and spiritual values or suffering significant financial losses.
“We do welcome the bank’s planned consultation and understand that the costs of correcting the oversight are deemed unacceptable. Currency must be acceptable to all, therefore there is no question, it must be free from animal products,” he said.