What is Payroll Local?
Payroll Local is a new scheme that the Brixton Pound are launching with Lambeth council that will allow council staff the opportunity to take a proportion of their salary in electronic Brixton Pounds (B£e). Employees who wish to choose this option will receive an additional 10% of the proportion of salary they put into their online B£ account. The scheme is voluntary.
What is the Brixton Pound?
The Brixton Pound is money that sticks to Brixton. It works a bit like a loyalty card for local and independent businesses. You can spend the Brixton Pound in over 200 shops and businesses in Lambeth. The Brixton Pound was launched in 2009. In 2011 an electronic version of the Brixton Pound was launched (B£e) which gives you a 10% bonus on any amounts transferred to your B£e account.
What is the purpose of Payroll Local?
- To encourage employees to use local and independent businesses and to make it easy and convenient to do so.
- To offer a convenient way to donate to local charities, social enterprises and community groups that may not be reached by corporate payroll giving schemes
Why should I sign up?
- You get an extra 10% from Payroll Local added on to any amount that you receive in B£e – so if you ask for £50 a month to paid into your B£e account, you will actually be credited with B£e55
- B£e makes it easy to discover new local and independent businesses, as our business directory (which will soon be available as a smartphone application) lists them all and shows you their location and opening hours.
- B£e Payroll Local is a convenient way to give to local charities, who may be excluded from larger corporate payroll giving schemes.
- When you spend or give B£e, you are directly benefiting your local community as Brixton Pounds “stick” to Brixton, and encourage more local trading.
Managing my finances is very difficult. Can this scheme help me?
Payroll Local may not work for everyone, and will most likely not be suitable for 100% of your weekly shop or budget. Payroll Local gives you extra spending power, but only if you are comfortable spending B£e at participating businesses. If you are concerned that you might run into financial difficulties before your next salary payment, you should not commit too large a sum to this scheme.
I need advice on managing my finances
The Brixton Pound CIC does not offer financial advice. If you are in debt or in need of advice we recommend you contact one of the agencies listed on this website: http://www.walcotfoundation.org.uk/adviceondebt.html
Who is responsible for the running of the scheme?
The Brixton Pound CIC (Community Interest Company) owns and manages the B£e scheme, and is working in partnership with Lambeth Council to deliver “Payroll Local”.
Who is funding the project?
This project is being developed by the Brixton Pound in partnership with Lambeth Council, with grant funding from NESTA (National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts). For more information see the NESTA website http://www.nesta.org.uk/areas_of_work/public_services_lab/giving/assets/features/payroll_local
What’s all this about B£e – I thought the Brixton Pound was a paper note?
The Brixton Pound operates a paper version of the currency, which has been in circulation since September 2009, but Payroll Local works only with electronic Brixton Pounds. Note that the 10% bonus and “pay by text” are also only available with B£e, not with Brixton Pound notes.
Spending your B£e
What can I do with my B£e balance?
You can either spend it, on a wide range of local goods and services (see below), at around 100 participating businesses, or give to a range of local charities.
Can I buy my lunch with B£e?
Yes, there are many independent cafes, delicatessens and restaurants signed up to the scheme. You’ll find something to cater for every cuisine, dietary need and budget.
I don’t have time to discover new places to have lunch. What else can I buy with B£e?
With some 100 local businesses signed up, and more joining the scheme every week, there is a huge variety of what you can buy. Greengrocers, market stalls, flowers, clothes, jewellery and vintage shops are all part of the scheme, plus services including web designers, architects and bicycle delivery. You can find the most up to date list here.
Do Tescos/Sainsburys/Marks and Spencer/H&M etc accept B£e?
No, because the Brixton Pound exists specifically to boost trade with local and independent businesses. Because these businesses are usually owned or managed by people who live locally, they tend to contribute more to Brixton’s local economy and sense of community.
How much of my salary should I opt to receive in B£e?
The Brixton Pound is not designed to replace sterling, and you may not be able to do all your shopping using Brixton Pounds. We therefore recommend that you receive no more than 10% of your salary in Brixton Pounds. Please note that you cannot change B£e back into sterling, so you should not opt to receive more B£e than you will spend on a monthly basis.
What kinds of product or service are not available to buy with B£e?
The Brixton Pound is a scheme that supports and encourages local businesses. Typically, core costs like mortgage payments, gas, electricity, water and insurance are not sourced from Brixton-based providers – you cannot therefore pay for these goods or services using B£e. Please bear this in mind when deciding how much of your salary to receive in B£e.
Charitable donations with B£e
I have a local charity I want to support but I don’t want to spend any B£e myself
That’s fine. When the project launches you can opt to set up a regular donation to a local charity of your choice, by logging into your online B£e account.
I want to spend B£e myself, but I don’t want to donate to a local charity
That’s also fine. There is no requirement to make charitable donations.
I might want to make one off donations to a charity but I don’t want to commit to a monthly donation
That’s fine. If you see an appeal you want to donate to, make a one off donation to a charity yourself – you can do this directly from your online account, as and when you choose.
I am involved with a local charity or community group – how can they become part of the scheme?
We will be recruiting an initial batch of charities onto the scheme during summer and autumn 2012, but if you know of a charity or community group who may be interested in the scheme please let us know.
How do I pay using B£e?
Using our simple and innovative “Pay-by-text” system. You just send a short text message to the special B£ number. Both you and the business will receive a confirmation message a few seconds later, confirming that the transaction has completed successfully.
Do I need a smart-phone to use Pay-by-text?
No, any phone capable of sending and receiving text messages will do.
Do I need internet access or a computer to use Pay-by-text and to manage my account?
You will need to log in to your online account once, to set a secure pin number which you will use for making pay-by-text transactions, but once you have set your pin, you can manage everything from a mobile phone.
I don’t have a mobile phone. Can I still use pay-by-text?
You won’t be able to use pay-by-text but you can still make online purchases or give to our local charities by logging into your online B£e account.
If I pay with pay-by-text will my mobile phone provider charge me for the transaction?
You will be charged for sending one standard text message (SMS), unless this is already included in your contract or pay-as-you-go bundle.
Some mobile phone providers incorrectly categorise the Brixton pound number as an overseas number. If your phone bill shows additional charges when using pay-by-text, please contact your mobile phone provider or the B£.
Is “Pay-by-text” reliable?
Yes, it has been proven to be more reliable than credit card payments, during its six month trial in Brixton. Over 1,200 successful payments have now been made.
Is “Pay-by-text” secure?
Yes, very. The Brixton Pound works with specialised hosting and software providers who have a track record working with financial software. We use investment bank-grade encryption and hardware. So far, the system has been available 100% of the time and there has been no reported fraud.
What happens if I lose my mobile phone?
You should log into your online account as soon as possible, and change the mobile phone number, so that your account cannot be used by anyone else who has your phone. Note that payments can only be made by someone who has your phone and your pin number. You should also contact the Brixton Pound by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org – we can temporarily deactivate your account if you have concerns about misuse.
What happens if someone steals my phone and spends my B£e balance?
Provided that you have informed us promptly about the theft (within 24 hours of your phone being stolen), we will charge back any fraudulent transactions. Note that unlike a credit card, your B£e account can never have a negative balance, so the amount that can be spent is limited to your current balance.
Legal and Tax Issues
Does this scheme affect my tax position?
No. Any amounts which you receive in B£e have already been taxed at source (via PAYE).
Is the 10% bonus considered a benefit in kind?
No, because your employer is not giving you the 10% bonus in Brixton Pounds. This bonus is applied by the Brixton Pound CIC, when you “buy” B£e, by opting to have an amount from your regular salary transferred to B£e. Because the bonus is not exchangeable for sterling, it is not taxable.
Can I exchange my B£e for sterling?
No, B£e are non-exchangeable but you can spend them in 100 participating businesses or donate to local charities. You don’t need to live in Brixton and spending or charitable giving can be done online as well as via “pay-by-text”.
Signing up or opting out
How do I sign up for the scheme?
We will publish details of an online form in autumn 2012. All you need to do is to enter a few details on this form. The details you will need to provide are:
- Lambeth Council Employee Number
- Your full name and address
- Email address that you would like to be associated with your B£e account
- Mobile phone no that you would like to be associated with your B£e account
- How much per month you would like to receive in B£e
Do I have to sign up before the scheme launches?
No, you can sign up at any point, and transfers to your B£e account will commence following the 3rd of the month after you signed up.
I’ve signed up but I no longer want to be part of the scheme. How can I opt out?
You can revisit our online sign-up and update your details at any time. If you would like to opt out of the time, simply notify us before the 3rd of the month, and you will no longer receive any of your salary in B£.
You can also notify Lambeth HR. Please note that you must notify us before the 3rd of the month in which you want to opt-out. If you notify us after the 3rd of the month, we may not be able to cancel the deduction from your salary until the following month.
Deductions will be made from your salary on 15th of the month and your B£e will then be released in to your online account on or after 25th of that month (allowing for administration and processing).
I would like to sign up but I don’t want to use the online form. Can I just tell you/phone you up?
We apologise, but all sign-ups must be received from the online form. The process is very quick and secure, and can be completed using your PC at work or from a home computer.
How will this appear on my payslips?
The amount that you have agreed to receive direct to your B£e account will be shown as a deduction on your payslip – similar to deductions for Credit Union, season ticket loans or student loan repayments
Your B£e account
What if I want to spend more B£e than I’m receiving via Payroll Local?
You can top up your B£e account at any point, by doing a bank transfer from your sterling bank account, paying cash over a bank counter or of course you can increase the amount of your salary that is transferred direct to your B£e account each month.
How can I check my balance or view recent transactions?
You can either query your account balance direct from your phone, or log into your secure online B£e account, to view all of these details.