Local businesses encouraged to pay their business rates using the Kingston Pound
Kingston Council is encouraging businesses within the borough to pay their business rates using the Kingston Pound, a currency created by the community, local businesses and Kingston University.
Councillor David Glasspool, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Treasury at Kingston Council, said:
“The Kingston Pound is an initiative that the Council wholeheartedly supports - helping existing businesses and attracting new ones to the area by strengthening the local economy makes absolute sense.
“Similar ventures have been successful in Bristol and Lambeth, and there are currently 80 Kingston people and 30 local businesses taking part in the scheme, which shows that this project is already being adopted by our community.
“Currently the Kingston Pound is entirely electronic, which means that people can pay either using the app or Text2Pay, a system which allows people to pay by using their mobile phone. Plans are in place to develop a printed note, which is due to be ready next year.”
Andrew Connolly, Co-Founder of Kingston Pound, said:
“We are working with Kingston Chamber of Commerce, Surrey Save Credit Union, Kingston University, The Community Brain, The Museum of Futures and also existing currency projects such as Bristol Pound and Brixton Pound to ensure that we deliver a scalable system.”
Peter Scherschel, Co-Founder of Kingston Pound, said:
“Kingston Pound is ‘Money with Values’ and more than a method of payment because it enables community members to spend and therefore invest locally and have a unique and measurable impact. In this way we can continue to be proud of where we live.”
The announcement that the Kingston Pound is now recognised tender for business rates in the borough comes hot on the heels of news that councils like Kingston will soon be able to keep a greater proportion of the business rates they collect.
Kingston has been the most vociferous of all London boroughs in campaigning for reforms to the business rates system, with The Leader of the Council, Councillor Kevin Davis, first meeting with senior Government Ministers to discuss the issue at the beginning of the year.
The Council welcomed the Chancellor George Osborne's announcement in October that local councils will soon be able to keep the proceeds from business rates raised locally.
Councillor Davis said:
“By retaining our business rates, we can ensure that the benefits of more businesses coming into the borough will be felt closer to home.”
- Kingston Council’s expected business rate income for 2015/16 is £81.5 million, with £20 million being retained locally.