Ken O’Neill, Lothians’ newest independent candidate, has welcomed the reaction to his proposal for the area to have a local currency. Earlier in the campaign, Mr O’Neill proposed the creation of the Lothian Lolly to boost the local economy. Since then, residents, businesses and people from around the world have contacted him about the proposals.
I’m pleased to see that the Lothian Lolly has caught people’s imaginations. While out on the streets campaigning, people have wanted to talk about how it would work and how it would affect them. I’ve also contacted local businesses and had some approach me about the scheme. I really feel that this is an idea whose time has come. I’ve even had inquiries as far as away as Colorado in the U.S. and Brisbane in Australia.
I was also pleased to see other candidates suggesting the creation of a local currency for Edinburgh. Obviously that suggestion is much more limited and less ambitious than the Lolly but I know working together we can lick the Lolly into shape.
The Lothian Lolly would act as a local currency, for use at local shops. This will increase local trade and revive the area. The more traders join, the more effective the scheme will be. At the same time, we will reduce our carbon footprint by shopping locally and using local produce, with local shops sourcing goods and services locally.
One of the great things about a local currency is that it draws attention to the local economy and the shops you can find in your own high street. Independent businesses are having to compete with national chains, the web and out-of-town shopping centres. This complementary currency, working alongside, but not replacing, pounds sterling, will help strengthen our community while creating a more diverse and resilient economy. Not only that, but we will reduce how far our food travels, how far we travel to shop and help our environment as well. A local currency is also a way to show commitment to each other within the community, a way to signal that this is about ‘us’, not just about ‘me.’ The stronger the community grows, the better it reacts in times of recession.
- Various areas around the UK and the world have established a local currency. This includes the Brixton Pound, the Lewes Pound, the Totnes Pound and the Urstromtaler in the German town of Magdeburg.
- The idea of local currency developed out of the Transition Towns movement, which seek to create a “road map” to a sustainable future for their towns. There are currently over 300 communities recognized as official Transition Towns in the UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Italy and Chile.
- Read more about the Lothian Lolly in my earlier press release and accompanying campaign post.