What is the Brixton Pound?
The Brixton Pound (B£) is money that sticks to Brixton. It’s designed to support Brixton businesses and encourage local trade and production. It’s a complementary currency, working alongside (not replacing) pounds sterling, for use by independent local shops and traders. The B£ gives local traders and customers the chance to get together to support each other and maintain the diversity of the high street and strengthen pride in Brixton.
When did it all start?
It was launched in September 2009 as a physical paper-based currency and was followed in September 2011 by the launch of the electronic B£ pay-by-text platform. Around 250 businesses currently accept paper B£ and around 200 have pay-by-text accounts.
How does it work?
The B£ makes money work for Brixton by supporting smaller shops and traders who are under threat from the recession and larger chains. It stays in Brixton and circulates, increasing local trade and community connections. Money spent with independent businesses circulates within the local economy up to three times longer than when it’s spent with national chains, research by the New Economics Foundation has shown.
The B£ encourages people to think about where their money is going and commit to spending a proportion of it locally. On the environmental front, the B£ supports local businesses in sourcing more goods and services locally, reducing their carbon footprint.
Brixton has several features that made it a great place to pioneer an urban local currency in the UK:
- A famous local economy with a diverse high street and local market
- A strong community spirit and rich mix of culture and backgrounds
- A history of revolution, activism, change, dynamic people, and attracting the avant-garde
The Brixton Pound Misson
The B£ has several goals, which are to:
- Help protect jobs and livelihoods of community members within Brixton through developing a strong local economy
- Support and build diversity and resilience in the local Brixton economy in light of difficult economic times and chain store power
- Raise community awareness of the local Brixton economy
- Encourage and facilitate a self help model and ethos in order to protect the social and financial futures of the residents of Brixton
- Encourage local sourcing of goods to decrease CO2 emissions
- Raise Brixton’s profile regionally and nationally and contribute to positive perceptions of Brixton by drawing attention to its strong community, diverse economy and capacity for innovation
Other local currencies
The B£ is one of several local currencies that currently run in the UK, and was the first in an urban setting. The others include Bristol, Cardiff, Cornwall, Exeter, Kingston, Lewes, Liverpool, Stroud, Totnes, and Worcester. Other areas that we know to be in the process of developing their own versions are Hackney and Oxford.
No local currency is the same. They are all designed to respond to local economic needs and be representative of that area’s history and culture.
To find out more about local currencies, click here.