The UK city of Bristol has announced its plan to introduce
its own currency – the “Bristol Pound” which will be printed in
notes and traded electronically.

The Bristol pound will be the same value as
sterling and use £1, £5 and £20 notes, enabling shoppers, traders
and small businesses to buy or sell goods.

This is not the first time that a local
currency has been introduced in the UK, but unlike other
initiatives Bristol residents will benefit from the added feature
of being able to make transactions using mobile phones.

Ciaran Mundy, director of the Bristol Pound
said this is the first local currency in the UK that can be used to
pay local business taxes and will be used to protect independent
traders and businesses, keeping money within the city.

“Big companies just hoover up money from a
local area. Money goes into their financial system and typically
out into London and offshore. We’ll be driving more business to
independent traders, and ensuring the diversity of our city,” Mundy
told the BBC.

People can open accounts with the Bristol
Credit Union, which is administering the scheme, and for every
pound sterling they deposit, they will be credited one Bristol

The money can then be cashed in, or used to
pay bills electronically or with a mobile phone.

As the money is held by the credit union,
which has FSA backing, it will have the same protection as any
other deposit account.

With 100 local businesses signed up,
organisers hope the scheme will be operational by May 2012.