Yesterday evening the city of Bristol launched its own currency, the Bristol Pound
, with the aim of supporting and developing local businesses and keeping spending within the community. The organisers also believe businesses that use and accept the currency will benefit from the publicity.
The organisers concede the idea is not new, with similar schemes in towns such as Brixton, Totnes and Stroud, but claim their scheme is the largest. The exchange rate is £1 to Bristol£1.
And it’s not just individuals the organisers are targeting. They are encouraging businesses to pay their suppliers in the currency, and offering to help encourage vendors to sign up – or help find an alternative in the scheme. More than 300 local organisations – including pubs, photographers and even a pole dancing trainer - have signed up to take part, with many offering discounts to those paying in Bristol pounds.