Town That's Printing Its Own Money

Metro UK - It's one way of beating the credit crunch – print your own money. Which is exactly what one historic market town has done to try to protect its economy and encourage people to shop locally.

Traders and residents in Lewes, East Sussex, yesterday saw the launch of
their own pound note. Up to 10,000 Lewes Pounds have been printed, each with
a face value of one pound sterling.

The notes can be purchased from four outlets in the town and are redeemable
in most of its shops. 'The idea is to encourage as many local people as possible to shop locally,' said town mayor Michael Chartier.

'Lewes has a tradition of small shops and hasn't got a large number of major
chain stores that other towns have. It has traditionally been the small
shops that have given Lewes its unique appeal.'

The scheme is a step back into the past for Lewes, which had its own
currency between 1789 and 1895. It will operate for a year before being reviewed. Oliver Dudok van Heel, of the Lewes Pound group, said: 'You'll always need a national currency, but it's a question of promoting what can be done locally.'

Complementary currencies are already operating elsewhere. In Totnes, south-west Devon, local money has been running for a year. The US town of Berkshire, Massachusetts, has 1 million Berkshares in circulation.