LETS go to work....

LETS are Local Exchange Trading Systems, a method whereby people can exchange goods and services with others in the community by passing conventional money. LETS allow you to earn credits by providing a service which you can spend on other services in the scheme.

LETS are modelled on a system set up on Vancouver Island in the early 80's.In 1940 there were only 4 in the UK. There are now 400+. The size of the schemes and some other factors vary. In Totness in South Devon they use the Acorn as their currency and have around 270 active accounts. In Stroud in Gloucestershire the currency is Strouds and 350 people are involved. About 20 local councils are involved in LETS. Calderdale Council in Halifax has started paying out local currencies itself in top-up grants to local charities.

How LETS work

Each member completes a form listing the skills/goods/services they could provide. These are entered in a directory, together with contact details. If a member wants something offered by another listed in the directory they contact them. When the work has been done, or the goods exchanged they pay using a special local currency cheque book. The cheques go to an administrator who records transactions. Each LETS scheme chooses its own name for their local currency.

Each month, members receive a list of their own transactions, and a statement of everyone's current balances.

What are the potential problems involved?

It is possible that someone will run up a large deficit and leave the system. A possible solution to this problem would be to set up a limit on deficits which could only be extended with common agreement (a form of interest free credit).

Another problem is whether to fix a standard rate. Many LETS schemes do not. In Stroud & Newberry there are different rates for standard labour and specialist skills.

What are the advantages of LETS?

LETS is about community-building and empowerment. Third Way Supporters will see how this matches our own values. LETS go to work!


Become involved with a local LETS Scheme. If currently there isn't one in your area try to set up one!
For more details about LETS, send £1.50 or 6 x 1st class stamps.
The LETS INFO PACK, which contains everything needed to start, including membership, directory forms, model rules, intro leaflets, welcome letters, inspiration lists, artwork, game packs etc costs £10.00.

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