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…
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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on 0117 929 8642.
Oh, and if you don’t have a Bristol Pound account yet, sign up for one nowand let’s change money, for good!
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
I have lived in Bristol all my life, and when the Bristol Pound was introduced in 2012, I will admit, I did not come much into contact with it. Whilst the novelty and purpose of the Bristol Pound seemed admirable, I had no idea of the sheer number of places that actually accepted it – over 800 businesses across the city.
I’ve been browsing through the Bristol Pound directory and here are the 9 places that surprised me the most.
This surprised me because, not only is there a Chandos Deli round the corner from my own home, but also because I had always assumed it was part of a chain. This highlights one of the great uses of the Bristol Pound – distinguishing truly local businesses from the larges chains they compete against.
Whilst I have known for a while that First Bus accepts the Bristol Pound, I would never have made a guess at Bristol Temple Meads Station! Certainly something to keep in mind when you next buy a ticket at the station’s ticket offices.
Just up the road from the Folk House is Flavalanche. As a long time lover of both Frozen Yoghurt and bubble Tea, knowing this place accepts Bristol Pounds just increases my motivation to visit more often.
Bristol has a pretty solid music scene. We have a great selection of venues, and thus get a huge variety of bands. All of the tickets are to be found in the Ticket Shop, and great to know that they can now be bought with Bristol Pound!
Last, but certainly not least, the Watershed. I’ve been here many times over the years, both to the café, and cinema. It has always felt like such a staple that it’s impossible not to imagine that every city has a Watershed, but it’s acceptance of the Bristol Pound proves it is truly a Bristol-only thing.
So here are ten of the places I truly did not realise accepted the Bristol Pound, but in all honesty, I could have listed a few hundred other places. The Bristol Pound is more widespread than I had ever previously believed, and I’m certain that there are places you won’t have considered.
Bristol Pound are inviting our individual users to join a new Users Group to give feedback and opinions on Bristol Pound projects and initiatives.
Where: Upstairs hub room, Roll for the Soul, 2 Quay St, Bristol, BS1 2JL When: Thursday 23 June 2016 Time: 19:30 – 20:30
Join our User Group and get experience influencing Bristol’s alternative currency scheme.
The first group will meet on 23th June and will be made up of a group of representative individual users from across the city. Any member can join the Users Group, though space will be limited in order to create a good quality, intimate discussion.
The Users Group will be a space for collective leverage over our local currency, making the Bristol Pound more responsive to our users. It will also be a great place to network and meet other Bristol Pound users who share an interest in improving our local economy.
During this first meeting, we will discuss what format we want the group to take, give updates on ongoing and upcoming Bristol Pound projects and gather feedback. A format for the group will be suggested and agreed by consensus and we hope that members of the group will be happy to meet three times a year.
Light refreshments will be available and space is limited to 15 attendees.
When it comes to festivals, the people of Bristol are pretty spoilt for choice. With a different one taking place almost every weekend over the summer, it’s a hard job to work out which are the best ones to go to – but thankfully we’re here to help. Here’s Bristol blogger BrizzleKezSays’ top pick of the 5 best festivals that are taking place in Bristol this summer.
One of the city’s most popular music festivals returns for its fifth stint in Eastville Park this May. Combining the best of Bristol’s underground music scene and big-name acts such as Dizzee Rascal, Hot Chip and Everything Everything, if you love Dubstep and Electro then this is the festival for you. There is often some stall holders that accept Bristol Pounds too – great news for when you decide to tear yourself away from the music for a bite to eat! Taking place over the last May bank holiday (Saturday 28 and Sunday 29), tickets for the weekend and the Sunday are already sold out. However, if you fancy going there are still day tickets available for Saturday at £43.45 each including booking fee – but be quick, we’re sure they won’t be around for long!
Another big-profile music festival to hit Bristol this summer is Lets Rock Bristol. This 80s-themed retro extravaganza promises to bring a sense of nostalgia to fans of the decade’s music. Taking place at Ashton Court from Friday 3 – Sunday 4 June, this year’s line up features Jason Donovan, Sinitta and Paul Young. Tickets are still available, with day tickets costing £49.50 each including booking fee.
If you love all things BBQ, then you need to get yourself to Grillstock, which takes over Bristol’s harbourside on Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 July. Described as “Meat, Music and Mayhem”, it’s fairly safe to say that this isn’t the festival for vegetarians and you should be able to use your Bristol Pounds to buy meaty treats from some of the stallholders too. Created by the team who run the city’s restaurant with the same name, think eating competitions, BBQ demonstrations, plus a great range of live music from bands such as Levellers and The Stranglers. Day tickets cost £33 for Saturday or £24 for Sunday, or if you think you can handle it a weekend ticket costs £45.
One of the UK’s largest public festivals, Bristol’s Harbour Festival takes place from Friday 15 – Sunday 17 July. Celebrating the city’s maritime history, this family-friendly festival has something for everyone – including food and drink, markets, live music and entertainment. One of the highlights of the festival is the fireworks that take place on the Saturday night, when the whole harbourside area comes alive with a fantastic display. But best of all, the festival is working in partnership with Bristol Pound to make it a truly local experience – so if you have Bristol Pounds then this will be the perfect opportunity for you to spend them, with Bristol Pound cash points located across the festival site.
Bristol’s famous International Balloon Fiesta hits Ashton Court from Thursday 11 – Sunday 14 August. A proper Bristol institution, this festival is now in its 39th year. The free event includes mass balloon ascents over four days, a fairground, food stalls, live entertainment in the main arena and promises a load of fun for the whole family. The highlight of the event is the night glows which take place on the Thursday and Saturday night – the sight of seeing the balloons light up in time to music is a must see in my opinion!
Keri Beckingham is a lifestyle blogger, a proud Bristolian and freelance writer who loves shopping/gigs/cooking/meals out/a good read/all things vintage. You can read her blog BrizzleKezSays here.
If, like me, you’re someone with many good intentions, always making lists of things you want to improve – signing up to a greener energy company, finding a better way than supermarkets to shop, getting round to paying for council tax in Bristol Pounds – I say shut down this screen right now and get to it. My favourite quote about procrastination is Picasso’s “only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone”. OK, this is admittedly a little heavy for simply changing your buying habits. But when something really matters, and for me, supporting the local community and the people in it deeply matters, I think you’ve got to seize the moment to make those lifestyle changes you’ve been thinking about for so long.
Paying for my council tax in Bristol Pounds has been on my to-do list since it was announced that you can pay this way. A quick Google search makes me realise that that was more than a year ago. It was only when the latest bill came through in March that I thought it’s time I get this sorted. What’s fiddly about the process is that the first council tax bill is a slightly different amount, so setting up the regular payments is a little clunky. But so worth it. I’m sure the more people use this system the more streamlined it’ll become though.
Now that a healthy amount of cash is going into my Bristol Pound account each month, I’m paying for more stuff in Bristol Pounds. On the way back from a meeting in Whiteladies Road, I had a quick search to find vendors accepting Bristol Pound. My first try wasn’t successful – I popped into the RWA gift shop to try to buy some greeting cards, but was told their text-to-pay wasn’t currently working. Hey ho. Instead I visited Park St Local newsagents and came out with the guilty pleasure of a Grazia mag. Later on in the week I paid for my lunch at Bagel Boy by text message and, on another day, coffee out. Easy. Even if I did have to explain what Bristol Pounds are on occasion (and a manager had to come and assure the shop assistant), once you’re set up to text from the app and everyone knows what they’re doing, the process of paying is much quicker than using a bank card.
So anyone in Bristol without a Bristol Pound account – and anyone with an account lying dormant – I urge you not to kick the bucket leaving it undone. Get an account by signing up online or pop into the Bristol Credit Union office on Cheltenham Rd as soon as you can, then crack on with sorting the council tax too. Once it’s done it’s done.
Ramona Andrews is a food writer and digital content producer who has written for the BBC, Time Out, Channel 4 and many more.
Sign up for a Bristol Pound account here and find out how to pay your council tax here.
Last week I challenged myself as a newbie to Bristol, to do a food shop using JUST Bristol Pounds.
This ‘city specific’ currency is wholly new to me and I find it fascinating. What I wanted to know was whether the Bristol Pound is a thing designed to appeal to tourists or whether real Bristolians are using it for every day purchases. After all, if they are – this is a good thing – because more of the Bristol Pound goes back into Bristol than the standard pound, thus, its supporting the local economy in a more effective manner.
I headed down to the Tourist Information Centre last week to purchase my pounds – all very easy – it was a straight swap, cash for cash. I asked the lady behind the counter who she’s selling them to. She told me that they sell a lot of them to all sorts of people including lots of locals and definitely not just to tourists (despite there being a Japanese couple behind me in the queue who told me they were buying them as a souvenir).
Anyway, with my directory in hand, I headed out to buy some food. It was a small achievable list which was mainly vegetables with a few rogue items (chipotle chilli and tortillas) which I needed for a recipe I’m working on.
I spent a couple of hours walking from town up to and along Gloucester Road and as I went along, I was really impressed to see just how many places accept the Bristol Pound either in cash or text message form with big clear window stickers announcing that they accept the currency. I found that on Gloucester Road alone, there were numerous places – greengrocers, cafes, delis and international shops – where I could shop.
My favourite though, was back towards town. Bear Fruit, a pop up grocers in the Bear Pit and very convenient for home. I spent some time talking to the guy there, explained what I was doing and why. He loved it and told me how great he thinks the £B is. I picked up almost everything I needed that day with just a few items I had to resort to else where for.
My experience was wholly positive – it sparked conversations and made me feel part of the community. I’ll definitely use Bristol Pounds again. They help the community and give you a sense of belonging which is greatly appreciated by me, a newbie to this great foodie city!
Five students from the city’s UWE university have made a short film telling the story of the Bristol Pound and how it’s had an impact on local businesses.
The film is a project by students Mei Davidson, Beth Miskin-Garside, Eve Dolman-Bowles, Megan Grindle and Nathalie Kupper Mccarrick who are all studying Graphic Design at UWE.
They were asked to create a short documentary on the stories that exist within Bristol that connect to a wider political, social and cultural context.
Mei Davidson said: “We decided to focus on the Bristol Pound because we thought that this was something very important to Bristol and is a response to the wider economical situation. Also, as a group of students who have lived elsewhere for most our lives, we knew very little about the Bristol Pound so it was an exciting opportunity for us to learn about it and talk to people in the community about it.”
The students’ film is being screened at the Watershed on the Harbourside at 11am on Wednesday 27 April.