A WORLD-LEADING firm with a base in Westhoughton has won the contract to supply the high-tech base material for the new polymer £20 notes.

De La Rue, which has a manufacturing site in Wingates, is just one of two companies in the world who make the polymer and has been given another major boost by winning a 10-year contract with the Bank of England.

De La Rue already has the contract to design and print the new £20 notes, which will be issued in 2020 and feature artist JMW Turner.

Martin Sutherland, chief executive officer of De La Rue said: “We are delighted to have been chosen by the Bank of England to supply polymer substrate for the new £20 notes in addition to our existing work designing and printing the notes.

“De La Rue is the only fully integrated supplier of polymer banknotes in the world. This new contract is an important strategic milestone and will increase our share of this fast growing market.”

“Having worked closely with the Bank to design and print the new polymer £5 and £10 notes, we look forward to continue our close relationships and the successful delivery of the new £20 notes in 2020 and beyond.”

De La Rue’s site on the Wingates Industrial Estate, where 192 people are employed, helps produce the polymer substrate and security features for customers in more than 150 nations.

The company launched its Safeguard polymer substrate in 2012, and it is now used by 15 issuing authorities across 21 denominations.

Its production of the material nearly quadrupled last year and is expected to double again this year.

The firm has based its security thread operation in Wingates since 2001 and expanded the site in 2013 to incorporate its holographics facility, which was previously based in Basingstoke.

Every year the company, which also produces the current UK passport, produces two million kilometres of banknote security thread, enough to go around the Earth 66 times, and 1.4 billion security holograms.