Brixton launches its own currency
South London area Brixton has launched its own currency to try and drive trade at local retailers in the recession.
The Brixton Pound will come in B£1, B£5, B£10 and B£20 denominations and can be used to pay for goods in the area, but cannot be used outside Brixton or be paid into a bank.
Each note will feature a famous local figure and be printed on watermarked paper with holograms and serial numbers.
The money is worth exactly the same as sterling, acting as a “complementary” currency that will be accepted at dozens of local businesses. Over 800 local people have so far committed to buy at least 10 Brixton Pounds.
The currency launches have been carried out as part of the Transition Town Network, a worldwide movement attempting to get local communities “to look Peak Oil and Climate Change squarely in the eye”.
The network says the currency will help boost spending in the area and support local retailers. It quotes research from the New Economics Foundation showing that money spent with independent businesses circulates within the local economy up to three times longer than when it’s spent with national chains.
In addition, by promoting local trade and business, the movement says that communities can reduce their dependency on oil and help reduce their carbon footprints.
“The goal is to create a liquid economy throughout Brixton,” said Tim Nichols, the project manager of the Brixton Pound. “We have about 55 businesses on board, who can either give it out as change or pay it as part of their employees wages.
“The idea is for people to pay local suppliers for goods and services – this includes people like plumbers. At any point they can take it back to an issuing point and replace it for sterling.”
Brixton is the fourth UK town to have its own currency after the Totnes Pound in Devon, the Lewes Pound in Sussex and the Stroud Pound in Gloucestershire.
John Kazantzis, a councillor at Lambeth Council, said: “Brixton has a vibrant and diverse business community and I’m delighted that we are the first area in London to benefit from this scheme.”