Traders in Bristol, UK have announced this week they will be launching their own local currency, independent of the British Pound.
The initiative to install a local currency will foster a stronger sense of community interdependence, said Ciaran Mundy, the director of the program responsible for bringing about the Bristol Pound (£B).
“Big companies just hoover up money from a local area. Money goes into their financial system and typically out into London and into the offshore sector,” she said in an interview with the BBC. “As more and more shoppers and businesses spend the Bristol Pound, it will keep more of people’s hard earned wages in our communities to be spent again. [It] is also a powerful way to promote local businesses trading with each other.”
The £B will have the same value as sterling but will use a new series of banknotes that will be designed by citizens in the community. £1, £5, £10, and £20 notes will be issued.
The Bristol Pound won’t be the first local currency in the UK. Other regions such as Totnes, Lewes, Stoud and Calderdale have all undertaken a similar initiative.
However, according to the Digital Journal, Bristol differs from these other regions because they will be the “first to have the backing of a fully regulated financial services company [which] gives customers who open an account with the credit union a useful security of deposit guarantee.”
In addition to this, the Bristol initiative is also breaking ground because it will also allow businesses to make online payments to other traders and the local council has agreed to accept business rates payments in this currency.”
“People in Bristol who love the range of independent traders will be putting their money where it matters and reduce the need for lorries constantly moving goods up and down the country,” said Mundy.