Local Authorities and Municipalities across Europe are facing unprecedented socio-economic challenges in the context of budget cuts and increasing demand. It is in this challenging environment that Local Authorities and Municipalities are looking for innovative approaches and practical instruments that support them to deliver their core aims and responsibilities.
Community Currencies are economic, policy and social instruments, complementing conventional money and addressing issues or problems that would otherwise remain unmet in the current money system. As such, they are unique tools for Local Authorities and Municipalities to integrate into their core delivery to address numerous high-priority issues. These include responding to increased health and social demands, building a vibrant local business economy, democratising public services and addressing environmental impacts. Community Currencies are economic, policy and social instruments, operating supplement to conventional money, addressing issues or problems that would otherwise remain unmet in the current money system.
Section 1 gives a brief overview of Community Currencies and introduces some of the key examples that will be utilised throughout the paper.
Section 2 then demonstrates how Community Currencies address a number of the key challenges and opportunities facing local authorities, focusing on four key areas of impact
1. Democratising services and improving service delivery
2. Supporting the SME economy
3. Countering inequality and social exclusion
4. Addressing environmental impacts
Through multiple examples of Community Currencies from across northwest Europe (NWE) designed to deliver these four outcomes, Section 3 explores the different roles that Local Authorities and Municipalities can play in the development, implementation and evaluation of currency projects. Six distinct levels of engagement for Local Authorities and Municipalities will be introduced, namely: championing; participating; sponsoring; co-partnering; integrating; and leading.
Finally, Section 4 summarises the opportunity and challenges for Local Authorities and Municipalities in implementing Community Currencies.
The majority of examples including in this paper are taken from pilot currencies of the Community Currencies in Action (CCIA) project. Part-funded by the European Union’s Interreg project, CCIA is the largest ever transnational project in the community currency field, bringing together expert partners from across NWE and coordinating six pilot currencies in the United Kingdom, Belgium, the Netherlands and France.
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