Having recently moved to the UK, I still catch myself saying things like “Would you like a Euro with that?” to shopkeepers. They usually give me a strange look, until I realise my mistake and repeat myself, swapping ‘Euro’ for a more appropriate ‘Pound’. Having to deal with a different currency really made me more aware of my spending.
Different money to make you think on how you spend, and where you spend: this is one of the goals the Birmingham Pound is setting. The Brum Pound steering group, of which Birmingham FoE is a partner, is attempting to set up a local currency in order to increase, incentivise, and encourage local spending between individuals and businesses. Instead of paying with a regular Sterling pound, paying with a Birmingham Pound would ensure that your money stays in the city, helping local businesses – and people.
One of the positive effects of the Birmingham Pound will be the creation of more local resource loops, reducing transport miles. This will result in a smaller environmental footprint for the city. A local currency could also allow this money circulation to reach those who need it, by supporting the diversity, health and networking of local businesses. It is these local businesses that diversify and give colour to the city; by linking a local economy to local communities, the Birmingham Pound will increase social capital, local distinctiveness and identity across the city. It is a new way to engage with your local community and to support them.
Local currencies are already in use in Bristol, Brixton, Exeter and Totnes. The Brum Pound steering group is using their experience to make this endeavour a success. I for one hope the Birmingham Pound gets smaller bills than the Sterling… These massive bills don’t fit in my European wallet!
Want to know more, or want to help us out? https://brumpound.wordpress.com/