Which parliamentary candidates will fight for a fairer, stronger and greener local economy for Bristol?

The Bristol Pound asks candidates for Bristol West and South how they will support a strong local economy.

The people of Bristol are gearing up for the final round of campaigns before we hit the ballot box on Thursday 8th June, and it’s a general election like no other.

The emphasis of party campaigns has been centred around important national and global concerns, but in such turbulent political times, it’s easy to lose sight of the local issues affecting the communities we know and love. Before you nail your colours to the mast, what do you really know about Bristol’s candidates’ policies on our local economy?

The UK’s economy has transformed beyond recognition over the last 30 years, from an economy centred around manufacturing to one profiting from its massive financial sector. The UK can now be seen as a playground for multi-national corporations, with the lowest corporation tax rate in the G20. The current financial system has given birth to all kinds of issues, the housing crisis being just one that has severely affected Bristol.

Whatever your political affiliation may be, the arguments for building a strong local economy are genuine; stimulating employment growth, procurement of local products without large carbon price tags and reducing inequality are just some of the things we can achieve by a fairer local economy.

I asked Bristol’s main candidates for South and West how they planned to create a fairer, stronger and happier economy in Bristol, and here’s what they said…

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How can we make sure that more of our taxes stay in Bristol, working for the people who live here?

The council spends £350 million of public money each year. Most of this is spent with businesses outside of Bristol, including with large multi-nationals. The Panama Papers released last year made it clear that some of this ends up in tax havens overseas. What can we do to ensure that more of our taxes stay in Bristol, supporting the real economy – the local businesses and the people who live here?

Well, the obvious answer is: pay your taxes in Bristol Pounds.

Bristol City Council is committed to respending 100% of the Bristol Pounds they receive – as business rates, BID payments, market rents and council tax.

That means that if you pay your council tax in Bristol Pounds, every (Bristol) penny of it goes back out in Bristol Pounds to local, independent businesses – supporting local jobs and getting money moving around the city.

Last year 119 people paid their council tax in Bristol Pounds. That’s great! But just imagine how much wealth we could keep moving around the city if we could increase that number this coming tax year!

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So, what happens to the Bristol Pounds the Council is getting now?

Many council employees choose to take a part of their wages in Bristol Pounds. In doing this, council employees (civil servants and councillors) take on the pledge to spend more of their own money locally. Some choose to buy their lunch from an independent café, pay their energy bills or buy their groceries, some decided to buy all their gifts from independent retailers. Watch from 0:56 to hear from Councillor Carla Denyer and then council employee Elaine Ashley:

But last year, Bristol City Council got even more ambitious. They decided to use their Bristol Pounds to choose a local architect firm Alec French for some crucial renovation work on Bristol’s City Hall. This kept a significant amount of public money within our local economy, passing on a pledge for Alec French to localise their supply chains too.

Here’s what Nigel Dyke, Director of Alec French had to say on why supporting our local economy is important:

“Alec French have had a Bristol Pound account for nearly 3 years now.  Set up in 2015 as part of our response to Bristol Green Capital we have used it to localise our supply chain wherever possible.  As a local business we see this as an important part of our commitment to Bristol and our support for a great organisation contributing massively to a better city.”

Paying your council tax is an amazing way of ensuring our hard-earned taxes work for communities in Bristol and don’t leak out of the city through large multi-national companies to offshore tax havens and executive pay deals. Let’s use our money for good.

Council tax bills will be hitting doormats from next week. So you can set up your Bristol Pound payments pretty soon (and if you don’t have an account yet, there’s still time to sign up to get your payments done in Bristol Pounds).

Here’s Hannah explaining how to do it:

If you have any troubles setting up the payment, we’ve got brand new video walk-throughs available (uploaded this week!) on our YouTube page. And you can always get in touch – I’m here to help you. Email me on ruby@bristolpound.org or call me on 0117 929 8642.

Oh, and if you don’t have a Bristol Pound account yet, sign up for one now and let’s change money, for good!

Cheers all,

Ruby

5 ways to help you be a hero this Christmas – take the Bristol Pound Christmas Challenge!

There’s no denying it: ‘tis the festive season. And for many of us that means getting gifts for loved ones and gathering goodies to enjoy over the festive period. Bristol’s streets are a-buzzing with merriment.

There’s something you can do to make the season of gift-buying and goodie-gathering a whole heap more fun for you, better for Bristol AND the global economy.

Use Bristol Pounds!

Take up the challenge and spread the love this season. Switch that Sterling for beautiful Bristol Pounds, then when you go spend it you’ll be building and protecting what we all love about Bristol, and helping make our city fairer, greener and more vibrant.

Here at Bristol Pound HQ we want to make this as easy as possible for everyone so we’ve put together 5 ways to help you be a hero this Christmas. I’ve added links, so if you like what you see, give it a click to find out more:

  1. The Bristol Pound advent calendar. We’re putting together a giant advent calendar and popping it in the St Nicks Market foyer. Each day, we’ll open the next door to reveal a special deal for Bristol Pound users to help you with your shopping! What’s that? You won’t be able to join us in the St Nick’s foyer every morning throughout December? Well okay, we’ll post it up on social media each morning too! Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to keep up-to-date.
  2. The Bristol Pound Christmas market. We’re arranging a day of festivity on the 10th December at the Bristol Energy Hub on the waterfront. We’ll have: local craft and produce stalls; live music; free mince pies; Caring at Christmas are doing a wrapping service; you can win a Real Economy hamper; you can pick up the latest Bristol Pound business map and you can find out more about all the things you can do with Bristol Pounds (I can guarantee you don’t know all the things you can do with Bristol Pounds!). Plus, we’re right next to the Harbourside Market, where plenty of folk take the Bristol Pound. More info here.poster-for-christmas-market-620px 
  3. Our new Bristol Pound Map of central Bristol – more detailed than ever, stretching from Temple Meads to the Grain Barge and from Wapping Wharf to the Bear Pit, you’ll find 128 shops, pubs, cafes, hair dressers, homeware stores, florists, and much, much more. We’ll be handing them out at the market, but also sending one out to every Bristol Pound member.img_20161122_122219
  4. Indies in Bristol – a brand-new, city-wide event to celebrate Bristol’s amazing independent businesses and encourage Bristolians to shop local for Christmas. The main hub is in the Station courtyard (The Old Fire Station) in the city centre, where a central traders market of gifts, street food and a bar will be based. We’ll have a Bristol Pound ‘bank’ at the entrance of the event for your to switch to Bristol Pounds. Plus, we’re also doing a talk at 12.45. See you there! More info here.indies-in-bristol-poster-web-620px 
  5. Bristol Pound Trail – as part of the Indies in Bristol event, we’ve put together a pretty special little trail for you to follow – it’s a neat little trip in and around St Nick’s Market. Start at Beast Clothing to pick up your Bristol Pounds (they’re a ‘cash point’) – you can switch Sterling notes, pay on card or withdraw from your Bristol Pound account. Then visit a bunch of businesses waiting to give you discounts and offers if you use Bristol Pounds! More info here.bristol-pound-trail-banner-620px 

It’s easier than ever to do the Bristol Pound Christmas Challenge this year – so let’s change our money, change the world and have ourselves a jolly good time doing it.

Adam and the Bristol Pound team

 

A very warm welcome to Bristol’s own energy company: Bristol Energy

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That’s right, Bristol is now the first city to have both its own money and its own energy company!

It gets better: Bristol Energy is a force for social good, a gas and electricity company that will reinvest its profits straight back into the city, supporting essential services and local communities. It’s the first of its kind in the South West. We’re chuffed to bits to come together with Bristol Energy and work to keep money circulating locally, protecting Bristol jobs and creating a fairer, greener local economy.

Peter Haigh, Managing Director of Bristol Energy, had this to say:

“We believe energy companies have the power to make a positive difference. If you pay your bills with Bristol Energy, your money doesn’t just disappear into the pockets of private shareholders, it will help us to support your city. As a Bristol-born company we’re very proud to offer our customers the chance to pay in Bristol Pounds, helping even more of the money made in the city, stay local to the city.”

So, now you can pay for Bristol Energy using Bristol Pounds. But it gets even better than that. When you switch electric and gas quoting BPOUND001, Bristol Energy will give you £B20 and give us £B10! (Or £B10 for you and £B5 for us for one fuel)

Switch now and be the change we all need!

Click here for the full info on how to make the switch and how to pay your bills in Bristol Pounds

Varii Promotions is latest business accepting the Bristol Pound

Varii Picture

Thriving Bristol based promotional staffing agency is the latest business to accept the Bristol pound. The Keynsham based agency registered with the Bristol pound at the beginning of this month as part of a focus to give back to the Bristol community.

Varii is a young business which started in 2014 through the support of Prince’s Trust Bristol. Since launching, the agency has provided promotion and event staff to a number of well-known brands within Bristol and the surrounding areas, including Bristol Credit Union, which provides fairer banking for local people, and Bristol Leaflet Delivery.

Simon Porter, Managing Director at Varii says, “the Bristol Pound is a great way to support our exciting business sector. Bristol is really unique; it’s vibrant, creative and has a strong sense of community, which is sometimes lost in large cities. We’ve got our roots here, and it’s important that we take steps to help support independent businesses and the local communities they serve.”

To celebrate Varii’s commitment to the Bristol Pound, they have agreed to provide a 10% discount on all bookings paid using Bristol Pounds.

Additionally, if you’re based in Bristol and you would like to become part of their promotions and events team then you can register with them directly through their website.

Find Varii on our directory here

A nifty way to get local food in your area of Bristol

Getting your hands on tasty, locally-produced food can be tough when you’re surrounded by high streets strewn with supermarkets.

But now there is a way to get great quality, fairly priced food in your local area. It’s all delivered for free and you become part of a community too.

That’s the idea behind Real Economy – a project originally set up by the Bristol Pound but now ploughing it’s own furrow across the city. Let this intro video do the talking:

Steph, the coordinator of Real Economy, explains:

“Real Economy is an exciting way to buy food and drink, and a great way to spend Bristol Pounds. Our online platform lets you buy food directly from local producers, helping to support local farmers, and since our producers are paid in Bristol Pounds, your money continues to circulate in the local economy.”

“We have food clubs all across the city. You simply register with your local group, place your online order and we deliver to your local collection point. Our food clubs are also a great way to meet new people and build community around food.”

Find out more about Real Economy and place your first order:
https://www.realeconomy.co.uk/

 

Bristol Pound businesses: tell us your news

Whether you’re launching a new product, moving location or holding a special event – let the Bristol Pound team know so we can share your good news.

News

Bristol Pound users tell us they want to know more about the local, independent businesses who accept the Bristol Pound. They also want to discover new places and ways to spend their Bristol Pounds.

That’s why we want to bring together businesses who accept the local currency and the people who want to spend them. To do that, we want to share more of your news and the stories that make your business different.

We’ve set up an email address so you can send us the latest info – it could be a press release, an invite, a picture or just the details. Send them to comms@bristolpound.org. Add the email address to your mailing list or tweet us @bristolpound with a link.

We can’t promise to share everything but we will get out as much as possible.

Send press releases, emails, pictures, questions to comms@bristolpound.org.

 

Event: Introduction to ethical finance for businesses

Prospects Network - Bristol Pound

Bristol is a hotbed of alternative ways of doing things – that includes finance for small and medium size businesses. Bristol Pound members are coming together to hear how they can benefit from using the many ethical finance options available in the city – and you’re invited.

What: Introduction to Ethical Finance for Small & Medium Size Businesses
When: Wednesday 8 June, 10am – 1pm
Where: Tobacco Factory, Raleigh Rd, Bristol, BS3 1TF

Book your place now

Bristol Pound are working with the city’s sustainability champions, Go Green, for this morning workshop at the Tobacco Factory to help you join the dots between your company’s values and the financial services you use.

Speakers include:

Wren Aigaki-Lander – Within People
Alex Higgins – Triodos Bank
Steve Clarke – Bristol Pound
Vicki Woolley – Bristol Green Capital Partnership
Jack Farmer – LettUs Grow

The agenda

Enjoy a tasty, sustainably sourced breakfast with like-minded local businesses and learn how you can align ethical finance with your company’s purpose.

Hear how values are integral to decision making at Triodos Bank.

Find out how Bristol Pound’s new Prospects Network for SMEs can benefit you.

Get practical tips to help you identify the positive difference your company’s financial choices can make.

Investigate if crowdfunding could suit your business.

This is a great opportunity to complement your business’ ethos with your finances – and reap the benefits of doing so. Discounted places are available for Bristol Pound members but they’re limited so book now:

Book now

Together we’ll explore the unique opportunities Bristol businesses have to shape their world and grow their business by choosing from the ethical finance options the city has pioneered.

 

Free marketing for growth workshop for Bristol Pound business members

The Bristol Pound team are excited to bring a Get Set for Growth workshop to Bristol Pound business members.

Get Set for Growth - Bristol Pound business event

Get Set for Bristol – Marketing for Growth
When: 10th May 2016, 9.15 – 11.45am
Where: Folk House, 40a Park St, Bristol, BS1 5JG
Book now: http://getsetforbristol.eventbrite.com 

We speak to our network of over 800 local, independent businesses every day and we know that competing with the marketing budgets of large businesses can be a tall ask. Get Set for Growth’s expert team will deliver a practical and insightful workshop to help you market and grow your business.

This is a Bristol Pound members-only event so it will be an excellent opportunity to mingle with other like-minded businesses, share challenges and create opportunities.

What’s planned on the day

9.15 Registration, refreshments and networking
9.45 Introductions and welcomes – Emily Hazell, Partnership Manager, Bristol Pound
10.00 Growing your Local Business – Fiona Fraser, Marketing Advisor, Get Set for Growth
Covering:
Introducing Get Set for Growth
Marketing for Growth
Break out group & discussion
11.30 Q&A and feedback
11.45 End and networking

Book your place now:
http://getsetforbristol.eventbrite.com

About Get Set for Growth

Get Set for Growth is a specialist service offering funded marketing and finance expertise to ambitious businesses with the potential to grow, thanks to the Regional Growth Fund. Growing your business requires money and customers: Get Set for Growth is a unique service that helps you get both through a combination of finance and marketing expertise. The West of England team have been live in Bristol for just over 6 months and have recently celebrated the enrolment of their 200th client.

Meet the Cash Point: The Tube Diner

We met up with Charlie from Arnos Vale’s Tube Diner to find out what makes them tick and why they love being a Bristol Pound Cash Point.

Charlie from the Tube Diner, Bristol

The Tube Diner is a retro Airstream café based in the vibrant Paintworks creative quarter. They serve up delicious Buttermilk Pancakes, Breakfasts, Burgers, Chilli Dogs and scrumptious daily specials to hungry artists and families.

“Being a Bristol Pound Cash Point helps bring in new customers” explains Charlie, the friendly face behind Tube Diner. “It has increased footfall, especially on weekends.” They’re seeing more families and tourists through the door and enjoy the bustle of a busy weekend.

“Local families who frequent our Diner seem to be the most active users of the Bristol Pound. We feel that it’s important to support the Bristol Pound and it’s nice to be able to offer them to our customers.”

Anyone can exchange sterling for paper Bristol Pounds at the Tube Diner on the Bath Road – and Charlie’s a big fan of Bristol’s local currency.

“Bristol is a quirky, eccentric city and the Bristol Pound fits in nicely with that. We feel that Bristol Pounds work well with Bristol and its forward thinking approach.”

Paper £B1 Bristol Pound

“We love the design of the paper £B1. The older generations refer back to the bygone era when £1 sterling notes were commonly used. It’s a great novelty!”

The Tube Diner spends Bristol Pounds by buying stock from other local business. They also reward themselves with a well-earned pint at a local bar who accepts them too!

Find your nearest Bristol Pound Cash Point. Then head to one of over 850 businesses who accept Bristol Pounds.