"Calderdale Shops Losing their Local Customers"
The Halifax Courier ran a story in 2000 suggesting that Calderdale is West Yorkshire’s biggest loser for profit from local shoppers. the survey showed that for every £100 spent, £45 goes to businesses outside the borough, chiefly to neighbouring towns such as Leeds, Bradford, Huddersfield and Wakefield. Satellite towns - e.g. Brighouse and Todmorden - fared even worse. Elland, for example, managed to retain only about £9 out of every £100.
The usual solution is to try and encourage more tourist spending. However, Calderdale locals spend £310 million a year in shops (and only £170 million stays within the borough), compared with visitors spending of £26 million a year.
Rather than spending millions encouraging visitors to come and sample Calderdale’s delights, the obvious solution is to encourage local shoppers to buy locally.
To address the problem, Calderdale Green Currency established a local currency which could be used by local people to buy and sell locally. Accepting small amounts of this currency (perhaps as part of a major 'buy local' campaign) would have enabled local businesses to increase their share of local spending and also reduced the need to compete in a price war with multinationals.
Benefits for Calderdale people:
- No need for credit/ debit cards/ bank account - 13% - 20% of people in the north do not have bank accounts, and are thus unable to participate in the majority of today’s electronic transactions which demand a bank account or a credit card. Calderdale’s Green Currency however requires no such wizardry, and effectively enables the participation of this disadvantaged section of the community.
- Retention of money within immediate borough - local currency can only be spent within the geographical boundaries of the borough, giving local people a real reason to buy locally rather than travel to Leeds and Bradford.
- Creation of employment opportunities - it enables people to use their skills or time to obtain more ‘money’, which in turn can only be spent locally.
- Environmental benefits - goods produced, bought and sold locally reduce the pollution caused by world-wide transportation of goods.