In the face of an economic downturn in the UK, local leaders in Cornwall say the county should develop it’s own currency to protect its economy.
Ian Jones, chief executive of Volunteer Cornwall, says the move may be consider a “radical idea,” but argues the move away from the British pound could be beneficial for the community in the long run.
“Communities create wealth but too often it is siphoned out. We have to keep wealth local,” he told the BBC. “”It’s no good if we endlessly talk about our problems, we need to start doing something positive now if we are to avoid being at the mercy of the global storm which is currently raging.”
Cornwall is a unitary authority in the UK. Considered a “ceremonial country,” the community has a single tier and is responsible for all local government functions. Typically, unitary authorities cover towns or cities that are large enough to function independently of county or other regional
Part of that independence can include the establishment governing a separate currency.
Other counties such as Totnes, Devon, and Lewes have already done this whereby Sterling is swapped for notes accepted by the town’s traders.
Ben Brangwyn, co-founder of Transition Town Totnes and part of the currency group that launched this localized currency initiative, says it is an ideal system for the well-being of small counties such as Cornwall.
“Local money is much more mindful when it circulates in the local economy – it is not a replacement but can plug the gap,” he says. “”It gives people more control over how services are procured.”
This wouldn’t be the first time Cornwall instituted its own currency. Several Cornish mining areas in the 19th century set up their own bands and issued their own banknotes, and in 1974 banknotes were issued by pressure group the Cornish Stannary Parliament partly “to raise money to aid it in the restitution of Cornwall’s legal right to partially govern itself”.
BBC News: “Call To Adopt Cornwall Currency”
The Telegraph: “Cornish Groups Want To Dump Sterling and Adopt Own Currency”
This Is Cornwall: “Back To The Future As Plan For ‘Local’ Currency Is Mooted To ‘Save Economy’