Local trading currencies
The Mayor of Brixton doing his Christmas shopping with Brixton Pounds. The Brixton Pound is the UK’s first local currency in an urban area.
There are now an estimated 2,500 local currencies operating world wide, particularly payment-voucher systems that are exchangeable for the mainstream currency. In Europe, Germany has more than 20 such currencies. One example is the Chiemgauer which circulates in Prien am Chiemsee in Bavaria. It is sold for an equivalent amount of Euros through local charities who receive a 3% commission and accepted as payment in 600 local businesses. In 2008 there were 370,000 Chiemgauer in circulation with an annual turnover of Ch3 million. In the UK similar initiatives have been recently started by Transition Towns, a group of community led organisations which focus on energy and climate change issue. The first was the Totnes Pound in Devon and this has been followed by the Lewes Pound in Sussex, the Brixton Pound in London, and the Stroud Pound in Gloucestershire. Like the German currencies, the Brixton Pound is designed to support local businesses and encourage local trade and production. So far, over 70 businesses accept the currency. One Brixton Pound is equivalent to one pound Sterling. People can swap their pounds sterling for Brixton pounds at a number of issuing points and then use them in local shops. Local business can then decide to give customers special offers for using the money .