Bristol residents will be able to pay their council tax in Bristol Pounds from next month, the city council has said.
With the city’s own local currency preparing to celebrate their first birthday, and in the week bus operator First Bus announced it would accept the new currency, the news has been described by organisers as “a real turning point for Bristol’s economy”.
Bristol City Council (BCC) already accepts business rate payments in Bristol Pounds, but said it expected to launch the council tax payment option within the next month, making the city the country’s first local authority to accept council tax payments in a local currency.
Ciaran Mundy, director of Bristol Pound, said: “This could prove a real turning point for Bristol’s economy, putting real power in the hands of ordinary people, ensuring the economy is run for people, not banks. It means more locally owned business and communities can build and recirculate wealth for everyone across the city.”
Since its launch amid fanfare last year, more than £250,000 has been converted to Bristol Pounds. More than 600 businesses now accept payments in the currency and BCC has taken more than £66,000 in Business Rates using the currency.
Cllr Geoff Gollop, assistant mayor for finance, added: “This is a special week for the Bristol Pound and we’re proud to be continuing our support and announcing this new service. It will mean more payment choices for local people, enabling Bristol Pound members to use their account for Council Tax and eventually a range of other council payments.
“As the Bristol Pound goes from strength to strength we’ll be working closely with them to celebrate, promote and encourage the use of one of Britain’s most successful local currencies.”
The first anniversary of the Bristol Pound project has also been marked at the M Shed museum, where the very first set of Bristol Pound paper notes now form part of a permanent display.