In March LWM’s co-ordinator reported the local interest in the potential of a Birmingham Pound – the Birmingham Mail following up one tweet about a first-stage meeting of a few potentially interested people. News of an increasingly well-developed scheme in Bristol gives an insight into the role of a local currency.
The Financial Times reported recently that the “Bristol pound” is beginning to take root and ‘count’ in the local economy.
There are now about 1,200 members with Bristol pound accounts. Around 900 businesses in the city accept the currency including:
- the local bus company which accepts Bristol pounds;
- the council which accepts the local currency for council tax;
- Good Energy, which takes the local currency as means of payment;
- Yurt Lush, a Mongolian themed restaurant, which this month became the first business to pay its electricity bill using Bristol Pounds;
- the council which will give staff who opt for this, all or part of their salary in Bristol pounds; George Ferguson, the mayor, is paid in the currency.
The Bristol Pound was launched in 2012 to support local business and reduce the environmental impact of long supply chains. There are notes of £1, £5, £10 and £20 denominations and someone opening an account with the Bristol Credit Union deposits sterling and is credited with an equal number of Bristol pounds. This money can be cashed, or drawn on electronically to pay bills online or via a mobile phone.
A case history from the FT:
The organisers say because the credit union is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, Bristol pound deposits will enjoy the same protection as an ordinary bank account.
Read the article here – free registration: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/4fe13c82-31e8-11e5-91ac-a5e17d9b4cff.html