What is the Bristol Pound?

News, Uncategorized Posted by Holly Shannon on 5 May 2017 Return to News & Events

What is the point of a local currency? As someone who works for the Bristol Pound, the UK’s largest independent currency, I come up against this question quite a lot.

People seem sure that if they are shopping in independent, small businesses they can do nothing more to support the local economy.

Using Bristol Pounds is much more than a commitment to spending in local businesses. It is a way for people to consciously take money out of the global market and to invest it in building local relationships and livelihoods. Here’s how:

  1. It’s Stronger! For every Bristol Pound spent, £1.76 is generated for the local economy. This contrasts with the pitiful 36p that is generated for the local economy by every Pound Sterling spent in chain stores. This is because Sterling always finds its way into big businesses in the long run, and leaks out of the real economy into offshore tax havens of large multinationals.
  2. It’s Greener! The local businesses that receive Bristol Pounds are encouraged to change their supply chains to find where they can spend their Bristol Pounds, which forms more local links and investment in smaller businesses.
  3. Its’s Bristol! Whilst making the purchase the customer and sales person often have a more interesting interaction than if they were just paying in Sterling. This strengthens a sense of community between those shopping and those working in Bristol’s small businesses. Our notes display images created by local artists, which celebrate local culture. We celebrate the face of Annie Kenney, the Suffragette from Clifton, and a graffiti mural of Bristol’s most famous radicals –a more relevant talking point than the Queen’s face?

Not only has the Bristol Pound generated a lot of national and international interest, it has also inspired and encouraged other cities to follow suit, from Brixton to Barcelona. The Independent Money Alliance is a group of people from different local currencies in the UK who pool resources, technology and ideas to keep the local currency movement growing, and Bristol is at the forefront. By supporting the Bristol Pound, residents of Bristol are strengthening a project which will, in turn, support other cities to create their own local currencies.

If you’re already on board -well done! You’re changing money and changing the world. If not, join us. Visit: bristolpound.org

Laurie King – Community Liaison Manager

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