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From the Lake District to east London: which areas have local currencies?

Millennials' distrust of British banks, and a growing interest in supporting local communities, has helped spawn a new crop of local digital currencies.
The latest to launch is the Lake District pound, which can be spent as of May 1 in more than 200 locally-owned businesses and visitor attractions. 
Available in LD?1, LD?5, LD?10 and LD?20, each note features well-known places and people from the Lake District, including Beatrix Potter and William Wordsworth.
This follows the launch of the East London pound last summer and the Liverpool pound in early 2017. Glasgow and Birmingham have also explored a similar idea. 
Local currencies have been around in the UK for more than 10 years, introduced by cities and regions across the country in order to protect local businesses and support the community and its residents.
The currencies are typically pegged to sterling, but can only be traded in shops and businesses in the local area. When the Brixton pound launched in 2009, its founders said it would "stop 80p of every ?1 spent locally from leaving the area."
Some local currencies have struggled; the Lewes pound and Stroud pound, for example, appear to no longer be trading. But there are other local currencies that are still successful today.
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The Hullcoin


In 2014, Hull City Council launched the Hullcoin – the first UK local government operated cryptocurrency – with the aim of fighting social injustice and poverty.
It allows residents of Hull to earn virtual coins for recycling or taking part in community projects, which can then be spent in local businesses. These benefit from the increased custom, as people use credits to get discounts on purchases.
As of mid-2017, 146 retailers and around 800 people have signed up to the digital currency.
From the Lake District to east London: which areas have local currencies?

Hull's Humber Bridge

Credit:
Historic England

The Brixton pound


The Brixton pound launched its paper-based currency in 2009, but it is now also traded through an electronic pay-by-text platform.
The scheme was devised to "support and build diversity and resilience in the local Brixton economy in light of difficult economic times".
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Around 250 businesses currently accept paper Brixton currency and approximately ?50,000 worth of Brixton money was traded digitally in 2016, with around 1,000 regular users of the currency. 
From the Lake District to east London: which areas have local currencies?

The B?10 features the face of Brixton-born David Bowie  

Credit:
brixtonpound.org

The Bristol pound


The Bristol pound was launched in 2012, and is perhaps the biggest local currency in operation in the UK. More than ?1m Bristol pounds have been issued since its launch, and it can be used at more than 800 businesses across the city and wider area.
Every paper ?B is backed up by pound sterling deposited at Bristol Credit Union, which is regulated by the FCA.
From the Lake District to east London: which areas have local currencies?

A ?1, ?5, ?10, and ?20 Bristol pound note

Credit:
Mark Simmons

The Totnes pound


The Totnes currency, a "complementary currency" intended to supplement sterling, has been going in Devon since 2007, with electronic Totnes pounds launched in 2014. 
You can spend the notes in more than 100 local businesses, and when residents buy with Totnes pounds they are rewarded with loyalty points that can be redeemed on future purchases or donated to a local charity.
From the Lake District to east London: which areas have local currencies?

The Totnes currency is a 'complementary currency' intended to supplement sterling

Credit:
totnespound.org

The Kingston pound


Kingston launched its own digital currency in early 2014 as a way to save its high streets and shopping parades and keep money circulating around Kingston borough.
Its website states: "Have you ever wondered what happens to your cash when you spend it in Kingston-upon-Thames? Well most of it (80-90pc) leaves the borough within a day, then leaves the county and a lot of it leaves the UK – untaxed!"
Currently, around 100 hundred people have K? accounts, which are administered by SurreySave Credit Union, and since 2015 more than ?8,000 has been spent using Kingston pounds. 
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The Liverpool pound and east London pound


The Liverpool local pound launched at the beginning of the year and currently has 100 businesses and 16,000 users signed up. In June, the east London pound was launched, which currently has around 2,000 members and 70 businesses.
Both currencies are traded through a free smartphone app called Colu, which acts as a digital wallet for consumers to use in restaurants, shops and other local businesses that accept the currency.
According to Colu, consumers and merchants get more for their money if they use the the local currency to buy goods, by taking advantage of locals-only offers and discounts.
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