Bristol Pound: The accountant's view

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Robert Lovell
Journalist
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The Bristol Pound was officially launched this week to support independent businesses and keep trade within the city. AccountingWEB sought the views of South West accountancy firm Bishop Fleming to find out what the profession thought about it.

The £B is the first local currency to be implemented across a major UK city and supported by a financial institution - the Bristol Credit Union.

Matthew Lee, managing partner of the Bristol office of Bishop Fleming, was supportive of scheme, but somewhat sceptical about it generating millions of pounds worth of transactions.

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About robertlovell

About robertlovell

Business and finance journalist

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    avatar
    21st Sep 2012 14:27

    Sorry but I think its a rather daft and pointless gimmick.

     I don't see any point to it at all.

    By all means encourage people to shop locally. Do it by cheaper parking, better facilities, etcetera.

    The £B is just a Boots gift voucher by another name. Pointless, and restrictive as to where you can shop.

     

     

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    21st Sep 2012 13:21

    Accountant's 'marketing' gimmicks

    paerking?

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    to mrme89
    21st Sep 2012 14:37

    Paerking

    AnnaKournikovasKnickers wrote:

    paerking?

     

    Spell check malfunction combined with rotten typing skills. 

    Or maybe it's some obscure Bristolian term :)

     

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    21st Sep 2012 10:15

    Not exactly new

    Stroud has been doing this sort of thing for years

    OK, not as big as Bristol

    With kind regards

    Clint Westwood

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    21st Sep 2012 10:53

    Surely that's the point Clint

    A smallish town like Stroud within a rural area is likely to have a stronger sense of locality than a major city such as Bristol, with its tourists, universities, diverse population and constant churn of people.

    Bristolians can start shouting me down...now.

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    21st Sep 2012 11:01

    Typical!

     "Sorry but I think its a rather daft and pointless gimmick.

    I don't see any point to it at all."

    Midlands Accountancy 

    As a Bristolian in exile, I'm not surprised, Bristol is a hotbed of trendy liberal alternative thinking.  Local shops selling bean bags and Che Guevara posters will benefit greatly.

    Typical of you people from The North to be sceptical.*

    AndyC

    *If you're from Bristol, "The North" begins at Gloucester.

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    By JC
    21st Sep 2012 11:20

    Lewes ...

    Believe since 2008/09

    http://thelewespound.org/

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewes_Pound

    So why all the national hype about this time around

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    21st Sep 2012 11:32

    Can't really see the benefit..

    The only people who seem to benefit here are the Credit Union and the accountants who get to play with two sets of currencies.

    Apart from the publicity at launch, I wonder whether all the money and effort might have been better spent informing people about all the wonderful things Bristol sells locally and encouraging people to find out.

    If anything, it seems to impose a restriction on where people can spend their money and people generally don't take kindly to it- I foresee it becoming a gimmick for a bunch of 'trendy liberals' with no real benefit to the local businesses it is supposed to help.

     

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    21st Sep 2012 11:43

    Bonkers Bristol £

    Despite being a Bristolian I entirely agree with Midlands Accountancy.  What a complete waste of time and effort.  I doubt it will last six months.

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    21st Sep 2012 13:48

    Bristol benefits

    @Midlands Accountancy

    Spending the money on parking? Bristol City Council are charging for workplace parking spaces (a new business tax). North Somerset Council (who cover part of the BS postcode) are introducing parking charges in towns (that'll help all those empty dhops) and at stations (where is their green transport policy?)

    Apart from those moans we're looking into accepting the £B here. May as well join in with the gimmick.

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    21st Sep 2012 14:02

    Swiss Wir

    I think it is good, it helps to lock prosperity into the local economy.

    There has been a local currency going in Switzerland for 40+ years and it has been a great success

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    By JPH007
    21st Sep 2012 15:03

    Who will the losers be?

    After the first flush of excitement I suspect that a lot of people will end up with a pile of the funny money and no one will redeem it for the Queen's shilling. 

    Then the media will be on the trail of the canny traders who were astute enough to cash in before the scheme peters out. 

    Why didn't they call it the Bristol euro? It will suffer the same fate as the one across the Channel! 

     

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    21st Sep 2012 16:01

    Do not knock the £B
    Do not underestimate these local currencies. Remember what it costs small businesses to use the clearing banks, and also the trading charges that credit card companies put on transactions. On a turnover of say £100,000, to save £1,000 is real money.
    Unlike the artificial Eurine, local currencies create themselves when the main form of exchange begins to be unfit for purpose, or more likely, expensive and inconvenient for "Ordinary" people to use.
    Watch the mobile phone e-currencies used by thousands of Africans outside the main banking systems.
    By definition, the more local £B type currencies there are the more they will be trusted.

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    21st Sep 2012 16:01

    Do not knock the £B
    Do not underestimate these local currencies. Remember what it costs small businesses to use the clearing banks, and also the trading charges that credit card companies put on transactions. On a turnover of say £100,000, to save £1,000 is real money.
    Unlike the artificial Eurine, local currencies create themselves when the main form of exchange begins to be unfit for purpose, or more likely, expensive and inconvenient for "Ordinary" people to use.
    Watch the mobile phone e-currencies used by thousands of Africans outside the main banking systems.
    By definition, the more local £B type currencies there are the more they will be trusted.

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    By JPH007
    to Ruddles
    21st Sep 2012 16:19

    Don't knock a gimmick???

    Of course we will!!! 

    To have to compare the situation of Bristol and with the work around used in AFRICA where banks are less trusted than here is pathetic

    I'd rather pay a properly regulated bank a fee than trust the marketeers promoting this scheme. 

    There's a scandal in the making, I fear! 

     

     

     

     

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    21st Sep 2012 17:34

    Collector's item?

    The £B notes are very professional and attractive so may be worth having as a collector's item.

    £B 250,000 being printed probably means they will  never have much value - but they're fun at least.

    As a serious commercial proposition I can't see any future in £B at all. There may be a very small local area, close to Bristol Credit Union, where the 'currency' continues to be used for a while but I suspect that will be all.

    I wonder how much the printing cost was and who paid for it. It seems to have been a very professional printing job and on a par with sterling notes, as it would have to be to avoid serious possible counterfeiting problems. 

    All very strange and very Bristolian! With due deference to Stroud - which is stranger still of course! 

     

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    to johngroganjga
    21st Sep 2012 17:45

    AWeb £4 note

    Philip_Winter wrote:

    The £B notes are very professional and attractive so may be worth having as a collector's item.

     

    I reckon I could dash off something acceptable on my trusty laser - anyone want to buy the AWeb £4 note ? 

     

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    21st Sep 2012 20:12

    Bristol pound.

      I am afraid everyone here is rather missing the point.

    Currency basis gets changed as a reaction to irresponsible central bank behaviour in

    printing money that does not exist in the hope that no-one will notice.

    Germany - Reichsmark -> Landesmark -> Deutschmark

    Brazil     -  Cruzeiro -> Cruzado -> Real

    France   -  Franc Anciene -> Nueve Franc

     

    Zimbabwe  - watch this space

    etc etc

    The commercial equivalent is a rights issue in the hope that shareholders do not know how to calculate EBITDA.

    A countries value is discounted by the debt . That is why the UK is now smaller than Brazil - next to zero growth combined with climbing endebtedness over 2 decades

    Where local currencies score is that they are reality- based and have little or no linkage with the fractional reserve banking system  which is itself partially responsible for the current malaise.

    When it gains enough mass for them to unite into larger "federal local " currencies is when the fun will start that is when the majors will actually begin to see the light - probably too late anyway..........

     

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    23rd Sep 2012 22:47

    Isn't it tragic that a city with such a rich history of international trade,home to one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world should succumb to this populist lefty localist nonsense? I think Bristol council taxpayers should ask themselves whether their politicians are giving them value for money and elect new ones that welcome international free trade and are prepared to build on Bristol's cultural heritage.

     

     

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    24th Sep 2012 09:41

    'Rich history of international trade'

    Er, that would be slaves and tobacco then?

    Sorry I couldn't resist that. 

    More to the point, I looked at the accounts of the Lewes pound operation, which is touted as successful.  The nunmbers seem small enough that the actual impact on the local economy would be negligible.

    So perhaps we need to look at 'success' a different way.  If the Lewes, Stroud and now Bristol schemes have a valid purpose, it is perhaps to encourage people to think about the way they support their local economy and how money circulates.  If they then decide to buy a book from their local bookshop rather than Amazon (even for a few pence more) then they are contributing to a number of positive effects, including local employment, keeping the 'High St' alive and (dare I say it) putting some tax into the UK exchequer rather than the Cayman Islands.

    If this effect takes place, then actually it doesn't matter very much what currency they use.

     

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    24th Sep 2012 10:57

     

     

    and corn,sugar,rum,glass and all the associated processing and financial services that brought prosperity to the area as well as to the trading partners accross the globe.

    Bristol is a vibrant,multicultural city steeped in history that can encourage people(incl people on the Cayman Islands) to visit and invest to mutually benefit Bristol and their own cities which are local to them.

    Let's have a bit less Terry and June economics and more recognition of the benefits of international free trade from which we all reap the benefits.

     

     

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    24th Sep 2012 11:21

    HMRC do bartering!

    'Bristol is a hotbed of trendy liberal alternative thinking' 

     

    i must go !

     

     

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    28th Sep 2012 14:38

    'Bristol is a hotbed of trendy liberal alternative thinking'

    .............if this is liberal thinking then I daren't see what the rest of you non-Bristolians have to put up with.

     

    Yours,

    The only accountant in North Somerset accepting payment in £B!

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    By JPH007
    to david wilks
    28th Sep 2012 18:06

    Carrots anyone?

    Or do you prefer apples and oranges in settlement of your invoices? 

    1carrot = half an hour orange =how many Bristol (and even North Zummerzet) play pounds? 

    Sterling Cash is normally treated as an asset, but our North Zummerzet accountant seems to regard it as a liability! 

    LOL

     

     

     

     

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    05th Oct 2012 14:20

    Alternative currencies welcome

    Being Zummerzet we will also consider payment in zider. It is Friday after all.

    Having checked the other local businesses accepting £B I see that I will be doing a lot of dining out in future. Sometimes life is hard.

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    11th Apr 2013 11:35

    Bristol Pound hits £100,000 mark!

    The Bristol Pound has reached the £100,000 mark for bank deposits after launching in the city in September last year.

    Bristol Pound founder Ciaran Mundy said: “We have been astounded by the level of commitment shown by the people of Bristol. It’s clear that they want to build a good economy fit for the future.”

    So far more than 500 firms have signed up to the community currency, making it the UK's largest alternative to Sterling.

    Businesses and individuals can open an account with the Bristol Credit Union, which is administering the scheme, and for every pound sterling they deposit, they are credited one Bristol pound – ensuring that money earned in the city is also spent in local businesses.

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