A growing number of UK towns and villages are considering launching their own currency in a bid to improve local business and ride out the financial storm.

The London borough of Brixton and Devizes in Wiltshire are just two of the many places hoping to start circulating their own 'local pound' this summer.

Oliver Dudok van Heel of Lewes Pound Group, which introduced a dedicated currency for use in the East Sussex town last year, said he had been inundated with calls from traders and councils looking for advice on launching similar schemes.

"Local currency initiatives are an effective and practical way for traders to multiply wealth and build resilience in the local economy," he said.

More than 30,000 Lewes Pounds are in circulation, and local retailers have reported a sharp rise in sales since the launch. New five and ten Lewes pound notes are now planned.