From April 1 Bristol residents will be able to use the UK’s first citywide local currency to make council tax payments.
Information about the Bristol Pound (£Bs)and how to switch payment methods is included in this year’s council tax bills and booklets, which are currently being delivered to every Bristol household .
The new initiative is expected to further boost the city’s green credentials by giving Bristolians a chance to switch to £B council tax payments during its year as European Green Capital.
Council tax can be paid in one-off or regular payments (like a standing order) from online Bristol Pound accounts with Bristol Credit Union (BCU), Bristol’s local, cooperative community bank.
Accounts can be opened online at bristolpound.org/signup or in person at BCU’s offices, Stokes Croft.
George Ferguson, Mayor of Bristol, said: “There are almost half a million Bristol Pounds currently in circulation, with every single one of those notes helping to keep more of our money in the city and, in turn, strengthening our local economy by supporting local businesses.
“The Bristol Pound plays a key role in fostering strong community ties, contributing to a fairer, greener and happier economy, as well as raising Bristol’s profile, particularly during our very special year as European Green Capital.
“There are now more independent businesses in Bristol than ever before accepting Bristol Pounds both in case and by text to pay, some giving special offers for using it.”
Ciaran Mundy, £B Director, said: “For the first time the people of Bristol have a clear and direct way of giving an imperative to the city council to support local businesses.
“In true Bristol fashion, we are the first UK city where people can pay council tax in a local currency. If people take it on and start doing it, the whole scheme will scale up significantly.
“This would have a real effect on the economy, supporting locally owned businesses and the communities they are part of.”
Local businesses have been able to pay their business rates and Business Improvement District (BID) Levy in £Bs since the scheme launched in September 2012.
£B119,502 Bristol Pounds were paid to the council in business rates in 2014. Since September 2012 a total of £B680,000 Bristol Pounds has been issued, with £B460,000 Bristol Pounds currently in circulation. About 800 locally-owned businesses accept the currency.
Alex Poulter, £B Trader member and owner of East Bristol Bakery, said: “I’ve been waiting for the chance to pay my council tax in Bristol Pounds.
“It’s another great way that I can make sure that my spending goes to support my city by doing it with Bristol Pounds. I’ll make sure to set it up as soon as I get my bill.”
For more information visit www.bristolpound.org.