As Britain loses faith in its banks and feels shockwaves from the euro crisis, one city is trying to keep local wealth in local pockets with the launch of its own currency.
Businesses can pay local taxes in Bristol pounds and the council has offered its 17,000 staff the option of receiving part of their pay in the currency Photo: Getty Images
The Bristol pound – usable only with member businesses in the city in southwest England – is to launch in September, and organisers are deluged with local firms wanting to sign up.
“The perception of banking and money is that it’s a very ruthless system: people are out for what they can get,” co-founder Ciaran Mundy told AFP.
“This is about saying yes to something new. It’s tapping into a different set of values about money.”
The scheme has “captured people’s imaginations”, he added, in a recession-hit year when British banks have been beset by scandals and ministers talked openly of a possible euro collapse.
Hundreds of businesses have joined, from the acclaimed Arnolfini arts centre to the Chandos deli chain, and the launch had to be postponed from May to September 19 because of the level of interest.