In recessions, many people start thinking about a lot of pretty “out-there” ideas to protect themselves from financial ruin. Volunteer Cornwall chief Ian Jones has one such idea — that Cornwall should ditch Pound Sterling and start using its own currency.
It’s not the first time individual pockets of Britain have suggested the idea. In fact, the town of Lewes in East Sussex uses “The Lewes Pound” (see above) in certain shops, and Totnes on the Devon coast also uses a similar “complimentary currency” technique to reduce the town’s carbon footprint and encourage residents to shop local.
Ian Jones has said that: “…communities create wealth but too often it is siphoned out. We have to keep wealth local. [Council authorities should] plan for the kind of Cornwall we want for ourselves and our children.” It seems to be an admirable idea, but is it practical? And what does it say about the unity of the country as a whole? Shouldn’t we all be in this together?
“It’s no good if we endlessly talk about our problems,” Jones added. “We need to start doing something positive now if we are to avoid being at the mercy of the global storm which is currently raging.”
Funnily enough, Cornwall has come up with this idea before, with 19th centiry Cornishmen printing off their own banknotes back when the county was still a mining centre.
Lewes in East Sussex also had a history of using its own currency before it came up with “The Lewes Pound”, as way back in 1789-1895 they regularly used their own version of Pound Sterling locally.
by Arthur Furrowfield