Positive News reports that Mayor George Ferguson’s pledge to make Bristol “happier, healthier and more sustainable” was the cornerstone of his election campaign.
He announced his decision to be paid in Bristol Pounds soon after his election – supporting independent traders by opting to take his salary in the UK’s first city-wide local currency.
The local currency was launched in September last year in order to:
- support Bristol’s independent businesses,
- strengthen its economy
- and keep the city’s high streets diverse and distinctive.
The Bristol Pound Community Interest Company and Bristol Credit Union run the Bristol Pound – a not-for-profit social enterprise.
Ferguson said: “I am a very strong advocate for our independent traders and businesses and as mayor, am committed to helping them flourish and grow. A strong independent retail sector is good for the local supply chain, helps boost new business growth and boosts the city’s economy.”
Bristol Pounds are purchased with sterling and can be spent with any of the more than 500 businesses that have signed up. The scheme operates online banking and a text message payment system, and traders are even able to buy supplies in the currency, helping to create a “virtuous economic cycle.”
Bristol Pound director Chris Sunderland explains that “Most of the money spent in a city, leaves almost as soon as it’s spent. It goes up to the financial institutions and gets lost. What people can be sure of with Bristol Pounds is that they’re circulating in the city and that’s where they’ll stay.”