Hackney Pound (£H) is in the pipeline

John Campbell

John Campbell - Credit: Archant

In just 18 months, Hackney is set to have it’s very own currency.

Set to launch next year, the Hackney pound (£H) is designed to encourage people to support local traders by keeping cash within the borough.

While every £H is worth the same as a British pound, legally it’s a voucher rather than a bank note.

This means the organisation behind the currency will need one pound in its bank account to cover every £H in circulation.

“They are not creating money in the way a bank creates money, but it will look and feel like money,” said John Campbell, a volunteer who has been involved in the not-for-profit initiative for two years.

While the currency is currently being designed, the process also involves getting local traders and banks on board, and it is hoped the council will participate too.

“These things simply wouldn’t happen without the council, who are key to distributing the money through wages,” said Mr Campbell.

Most Read

He added: “The question is what will we be able to buy with it? It’s really about supporting local businesses and buying local. You will hopefully also be able to pay council services like council tax and buy bus fares.

“It makes a community a much more exciting place to live in if it’s got a vibrant local economy, and it’s quite an exciting thing to say you live in an area where there’s a local currency.

“It’s about keeping the unique features that makes Hackney such a great place to live in, which is a vibrant dynamic evolving place.”

Hackney Council could follow the lead of Lambeth, where workers who opt to take some of their wages paid in the Brixton pound currency will get 10 per cent extra as an incentive.

A discussion about the currency will follow a film screening of 97 Per Cent Owned, made by Dalston resident and author of Modernising Money, Ben Dyson.

The film asks what money is and how it is created. “Only three per cent of the whole money in circulation is bank notes,” explained Mr Campbell. “When you ask the bank for a loan they conjure the money out of thin air. This leads to house price bubbles because the banks are creating more money than ever before.

“Why should banks have the power to do that? When the banks crash, how come it’s not the bankers who pay for it?”

n A discussion will follow the film screening at the Passing Clouds pub, Richmond Road, Dalston, tonight at 7pm.