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Bristol Pound


The Bristol Pound (£B) is a form of local alternative currency launched in Bristol, UK on 19 September 2012. Its objective is to encourage people to spend their money with local Bristol businesses. At this moment (July 2013) it is the largest alternative in the UK to the official sterling currency.


The Bristol Pound was created in three years of development as a complementary booster for the local economy, and is used primarily between local businesses. This money is created by the people of Bristol for the Bristol people. By using the Bristol Pound people support local enterprises and the local economy. The scheme is a joint not-for-profit enterprise.


The scheme is backed by Bristol City Council and a local financial institution, Bristol Credit Union. Because of the local council support, Bristolians are able to pay their local taxes using the new currency and the Mayor of Bristol takes his salary in Bristol pounds.


There are eight Access Points around the city where people can exchange sterling for paper Bristol Pounds at (£B1=£1) and spend them in participating businesses.


The Bristol Pound can be converted to and from pounds sterling and is equal in value to sterling. At its launch date in September 2012, over 350 businesses had signed up for accounts. £125,000 worth of the new currency was initially made available. At the moment almost 600 businesses accept Bristol Pounds. 


Printed notes are available for tender, being printed by an independent company. Efforts have been made to make the notes very difficult and expensive to forge.


Because of its backing by a bona fide financial institution (Bristol Credit Union) the Bristol Pound is the first local scheme to be able to accept electronic payments. This allows, for example, participating small businesses to accept payments by SMS, without needing to pay for and install a credit card machine. Payments can also be made online.


Every paper £B is backed up by a pound sterling deposited at Bristol Credit Union. Other banks do not accept £B as legal tender. Neither are local businesses obliged to accept the notes. Equally, the organisers cannot prevent national and multinational companies accepting £B, despite the currency being aimed at the local economy. 


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Type of initiative Company
Field of work Financial services
Date of commencement 2012
Founder(s) Ciaran Mundy, Chris Sunderland, Steve Clarke
Legal form
Continent Europe
Country England
City Bristol
One or several keywords that describe your initiative Local economy, community currency
Publications Newsletter, press releases, video
More information

Contact person(s)

Katie Finnegan-Clarke


Contact information

Name Bristol Pound CIC
Address The Corn Exchange, Room 103
Zip/postal code BS1 1JQ
Place Bristol
Country England
Phone +44 (0)117 2305459



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