Brixton £ consultation – one week to go

Written by on February 1, 2010 in Uncategorized - 9 Comments

Olive Morris on the Brixton £1

There is just one more week until the end of a Brixton Pound consultation on its aims and values. Residents can add their opinions to the B£ wiki or email responses to consultation@brixtonpound.org. I’m interested to see what comes out of this, although the wiki itself doesn’t look like much has changed from the original Transition Town aims and values. I like the suggestion that primary schools should change the way they teach economics (do they even teach it?).

This is a positive consultation more than a critical one. It’s great that groups like Brixton Pound and Spacemakers are working together to tackle Brixton’s economic weaknesses, but more helpful would have been a consultation on whether the Brixton Pound is really making a difference to the local economy and what needs to be done to make it work better. It might be too soon for a hard and fast conclusion, but it would be good to get a sense of the progress made and problems faced.

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9 Comments on "Brixton £ consultation – one week to go"

  1. Simon February 4, 2010 at 5:04 pm ·

    Zoeliv,

    I am not aware of any kind of “official” assessment of either currency, no, however both are thriving as far as I know (contradicting what ejoftheweb might think).

    Yes, I am aware that the Lewes pound has had problems with some traders who no longer want to take the large denominations (I don’t know why this is), but that is par for the course – there will always be supporters and detractors for radical schemes such as an alternative currency.

  2. Simon February 2, 2010 at 5:09 pm ·

    I think it’s rather premature to judge the Brixton pound – it’s only been up and running for four months! Apparently there is nearly £50,000 of it in circulation, so that seems pretty impressive to me in less than six months.

    I wholeheartedly agree with Duncan, this is not about people spending “a few bob” on “small change items”, it’s about changing your shopping habits and reorientating them towards local suppliers. Once you get used to always having B£20-B£30 on you it’s very easy to use and spend (there are 138 businesses which now take it).

    Regarding it being cash, in this credit strapped era I would have thought that’s a plus! If we as a society moved away from credit cards and cheap loans perhaps our economy would become more resilient. And on a personal note, using cash allows you to manage spending much more easily.

    Don’t forget that there are also many discounts available if you spend in B£ (30 or 40 shops are offering 5% or 10% off) – if you can save money with it, what’s not to like?

    • zoeliv February 4, 2010 at 4:25 pm ·

      Simon,
      Just out of interest – do you know if there have there been any assesments on the Lewes or Totnes currencies?

  3. Duncan February 2, 2010 at 12:57 am ·

    I will declare an interest. I was involved in the development and launch of the B£. I do 90% of my shopping in Brixton Pounds. I shopped local anyway so what’s the difference?
    a. I want to pioneer a new paradigm and get people conscious of the fatal flaws of the old globalised, interest-based, fraudulent, inequitable system.
    b. Converting fickle national money (that can go to any corporation and will quickly leave Brixton via Tescos and their ilk) to faithful local money means that every afterwards as it is given in change and respent it can only circulate among local independent businesses doing about 2.5 times the good to local people of the money that escapes to fill the shareholders’ and hauliers’ pockets.
    c. It has kickstarted the discussion about localisation and a resilient diverse local economy in a way we could never achieved just by talking.

    So convert, and shop with pride, knowing you’re building a resilient, committed local economy that will stand us in good stead in difficult economic times ahead as the energy crisis bites deeper and the global growth economy dies off.

    Here’s to a BETTER low energy future.

    Duncan

  4. The Happiness Project London February 1, 2010 at 7:33 pm ·

    To be serious for a minute, I agree with ejoftheweb. The B£ was great for a community feel, great press, but not particularly practical. I had a few Brixton bob in my pocket, and waited a while to spend it on “small change items” (in the end, a very nice wild boar sausage at the market).

    What will bring people to Brixton and make them stay here are the upgrades to the market, the nice new central square, better shops, a happy vibe. Brockwell park is a perfect example of a brilliant community project and investment that would make people choose to live and shop in the area.

  5. The Happiness Project London February 1, 2010 at 7:09 pm ·

    AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Sorry, not very cultured I know, but I was hoping for Zara, H&M so great – and at least its not primarni.

    Loved the Woolworths sign, and they basically furnished my entire flat at the time, but will be happy to see it go (sorry).

  6. ejoftheweb February 1, 2010 at 6:59 pm ·

    The B£ has been a triumphant PR stunt but it’s unlikely to change the way businesses work. One key weakness is that it is old-fashioned paper cash, when we mostly use plastic. It creates work for the shops that take it, so unless it keeps bringing them new business they will eventually stop taking it, as has happened in Lewes.

  7. The Happiness Project London February 1, 2010 at 5:11 pm ·

    Talking about economic weaknesses, any idea what is replacing the Woolworths on the high street? I’d love to see a decent shop there!!!

    • zoeliv February 1, 2010 at 5:23 pm ·

      H&M! I can’t decide whether that’s good or not…but I am very sad about them taking down the old ‘Woolworths’ lettering at the top of the building. Planning to do a more in-depth post when H&M move in, so keep a look out.

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