Bristol launches own currency to boost local business

The Financial Times reports an innovative new development in Bristol designed to help local businesses:

A Bristol credit union is launching its own bank notes with which traders in the city will be able to pay their business taxes. The Bristol pound, which is supported by the Liberal Democrat-led city council, will be accepted tender in the city by businesses that sign up to the project. … The plan is to encourage more local trading – as the pounds will only be accepted by other shops or businesses in the city.

“One of the ways we can protect independent traders and businesses is to keep the money which is created in Bristol within the city,” said Ciaran Mundy, director of Bristol Pound CIC. He expects the currency’s use will not be restricted to retailers. He said it would have an appeal to local tradesmen – such as plumbers and electricians – who are often self-employed and buy their materials locally. …

the novelty of the Bristol scheme is that businesses will be able to use the parallel currency to pay their council tax, so they should not be left with notes for which they have no use. Bristol City Council has said its 17,000 staff can choose to have part of their salaries paid using Bristol pounds. The council, in turn, is investigating which services it can procure using the new currency.

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  • Cllr Steve Bradley 13th Feb '12 - 2:32pm

    We’ve been doing this in Brixton for over two years now with the famous Brixton Pound, which has shown that complimentary currencies can work in an urban setting.

    Having the council fully on-board is key, so great to hear the Lib Dems in Bristol have got behind it so readily.

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